Theatre poster for The Mikado
Richard D'Oyly Carte
Helen Lenoir
Scene from 1886 Savoy Theatre souvenir programme
1881 theatre programme for Patience
Original facade of the Savoy Theatre, c. 1881
Lithograph from The Mikado
Touring advertisement, c. 1890
Grossmith comforts Carte after failure of The Grand Duke.
Rupert D'Oyly Carte
Souvenir programme cover, 1919–20 season
1921 cartoon: D'Oyly Carte audiences
Ricketts's 1926 Mikado design
Planter in front of the Savoy Hotel honouring the Carte family and colleagues
George Grossmith as Bunthorne in Patience
Passmore as Rudolph in The Grand Duke
Henry Lytton, 1901

Gilbert and Sullivan's Savoy operas usually featured a comic bass-baritone character, created to make use of D'Oyly Carte company member Richard Temple.

- Bass-baritone

Other performers who created a long series of roles in the original productions of the operas included the baritone Rutland Barrington, mezzo-soprano Jessie Bond, soprano Leonora Braham, contralto Rosina Brandram, tenor Durward Lely and bass-baritone Richard Temple.

- D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
Theatre poster for The Mikado

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One of Gilbert's illustrations for his Bab Ballad "Gentle Alice Brown"

Gilbert and Sullivan

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Gilbert and Sullivan were a Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900), who jointly created fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

Gilbert and Sullivan were a Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900), who jointly created fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

One of Gilbert's illustrations for his Bab Ballad "Gentle Alice Brown"
Ages Ago, during a rehearsal for which Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to Sullivan
The Crystal Palace, where several early Sullivan works were first performed
A contemporary illustration of Thespis from The Illustrated London News of 6 January 1872
D. H. Friston's engraving of the original production of Trial by Jury
An early poster showing scenes from The Sorcerer, Pinafore, and Trial by Jury
The Pirate King
George Grossmith as Bunthorne in Patience, 1881
Barnett as The Fairy Queen
Princess Ida, Act II Finale: Hildebrand and soldiers rush through the gate.
Poster for The Mikado
W.H. Denny as Wilfred and Jessie Bond as Phoebe in Yeomen
Rutland Barrington and Courtice Pounds as Giuseppe and Marco in The Gondoliers
Original facade of the Savoy Theatre c.1881
In the midst of the quarrel, Gilbert dedicated a collection of Savoy opera lyrics, Songs of a Savoyard, to the composer
The drawing room scene from Act II of Utopia, Limited
The Entr'acte expresses its pleasure that Gilbert and Sullivan are reunited
1921 cartoon of Gilbert and Sullivan audiences
Advertisement for the first recording of The Mikado, 1917
Detail from a Punch cartoon, showing Sullivan and Gilbert.
1880 Pirates poster
Frontispiece to The Pinafore Picture Book, 1908
Poster for Ages Ago, during a rehearsal for which Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to Sullivan

He built the Savoy Theatre in 1881 to present their joint works (which came to be known as the Savoy Operas) and founded the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted Gilbert and Sullivan's works for over a century.

The libretto of H.M.S. Pinafore relied on stock character types, many of which were familiar from European opera (and some of which grew out of Gilbert's earlier association with the German Reeds): the heroic protagonist (tenor) and his love-interest (soprano); the older woman with a secret or a sharp tongue (contralto); the baffled lyric baritone—the girl's father; and a classic villain (bass-baritone).

Theatre poster, 1884

The Sorcerer

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Two-act comic opera, with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan.

Two-act comic opera, with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan.

Theatre poster, 1884
1878 programme cover
Richard Temple with Mrs Howard Paul in The Sorcerer (1877)
Incantation scene
Act II opening, from 1884 programme
Henry Lytton (J. W. Wells), Elsie Griffin (Aline) and Derek Oldham (Alexis), 1920
W. S. Gilbert illustration, 1890
From 1877 programme
Poster by H. M. Brock for the 1919 revival
Walter Passmore as J. W. Wells in the 1898 revival
Dr Daly accompanies himself on a flageolet on stage
"Welcome, joy, adieu to sadness!"
Grossmith as J. W. Wells, his first of many "patter roles". Sketch by W. S. Gilbert
Rutland Barrington as Dr Daly
Bond, as Constance, pines for Dr Daly, 1884
Warwick and Bentham, 1878, after Warwick took over the role of Aline
Wallpaper showing characters from The Sorcerer and other Savoy operas

Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an Elderly Baronet (bass-baritone)

The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which had exclusive rights to the opera in Britain, dropped The Sorcerer in 1901, and its principal repertory company did not play the piece again until 1916, after which it made its first professional London appearance in over twenty years in 1919.

Drawing of the Act I finale

The Pirates of Penzance

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Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Drawing of the Act I finale
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Poster for the copyright performance at Paignton
George Grossmith as General Stanley, wearing Wolseley's trademark moustache
Marion Hood: "Yes, 'tis Mabel!"
George Power, the original Frederic in London
"Have mercy on us!"
Drawing of Richard Temple as the Pirate King
Isabel Jay as Mabel
Pirate King Henry Lytton denounces Major-General C. H. Workman.
1880 poster
1881 programme cover
Drawing from programme of children's Pirates, 1884
Smith, Ronstadt and Kline at the Delacorte Theatre
Opera Australia's 2007 touring production of Pirates, with Anthony Warlow as the Pirate King
The Major-General carries an encyclopedia in this "Bab" drawing.
Wallpaper showing characters from Pirates and other Savoy operas

The opera was performed for over a century by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Britain and by many other opera companies and repertory companies worldwide.

The Pirate King (bass-baritone)

Theatre poster, 1879

H.M.S. Pinafore

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Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Theatre poster, 1879
Punch cartoon, 1877, portraying First Lord of the Admiralty W. H. Smith as a land-lubber, saying: "I think I'll now go below." In Pinafore, Sir Joseph similarly sings: "When the breezes blow / I generally go below".
Scene from 1886 Savoy Theatre souvenir programme
Illustration of the characters in Act II by D. H. Friston, 1878
Rutland Barrington as A.B.S. Corcoran at the end of Pinafore
Poster illustration from original 1878 production
Opening night programme cover
Advertisement for a (probably unlicensed) American production of H.M.S. Pinafore
1880 programme for Carte's Children's Pinafore
Ruth Vincent as Josephine in 1899
Punch cartoon mocking Sullivan for his focus on comic opera
Rutland Barrington as Captain Corcoran in the first London revival, 1887
Souvenir programme cover from 1878 during the run of the original production
Theatre poster for an American production, c. 1879
Gilbert's Illustration of "A British tar" (1906)
Bond as Hebe with Grossmith as Sir Joseph, 1887 revival
Frontispiece by Alice B. Woodward to The Pinafore Picture Book, 1908
W.S. Gilbert in about 1878
Arthur Seymour Sullivan

Dick Deadeye, Able Seaman (bass-baritone)

Gilbert directed all the revivals during his lifetime, and after his death, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company had exclusive performing rights to the Savoy operas until 1962.

Richard Temple as Strephon in Iolanthe (1882)

Richard Temple (bass-baritone)

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Richard Temple as Strephon in Iolanthe (1882)
Temple with Mrs Howard Paul in The Sorcerer
Temple as Dick Deadeye in H.M.S. Pinafore
Temple as The Mikado of Japan
Temple as Sancho in The Chieftain

Richard Barker Cobb Temple (2 March 1846 – 19 October 1912) was an English opera singer, actor and stage director, best known for his performances in the bass-baritone roles in the famous series of Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas.

After an opera career in London and throughout Britain beginning in 1869, Temple joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1877.

A scene from Trial by Jury as illustrated in the magazine Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of 1 May 1875

Trial by Jury

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Comic opera in one act, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Comic opera in one act, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

A scene from Trial by Jury as illustrated in the magazine Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of 1 May 1875
Gilbert's original sketch of Trial by Jury, published in Fun in 1868
April 1875 programme for La Périchole and Trial by Jury. Sullivan and Gilbert are the cherubs.
The Usher advises the jury. Drawing by W. S. Gilbert
Third page of the 1875 programme
Sullivan's original thematic sketch of Trial by Jury
Fred Sullivan as The Learned Judge
Part of the vocal score of "A nice dilemma"
Rutland Barrington as the Learned Judge
Poster advertising operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan; includes Trial by Jury
The Plaintiff, in "distress", captures the sympathy of the judge and jury. Production with Sydney Granville, 1919

The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company continued to play the work for a century, licensing the piece to amateur and foreign professional companies, such as the J. C. Williamson Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.

Usher (bass-baritone)

The ghost scene, depicted by H. M. Brock for the first D'Oyly Carte Opera Company revival in 1921

Ruddigore

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Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

The ghost scene, depicted by H. M. Brock for the first D'Oyly Carte Opera Company revival in 1921
Amédée Forestier's illustration of scenes in The Illustrated London News, before the opera's name change.
Richard, Rose and Robin
Robin and Rose
Durward Lely as Dauntless
Henry Lytton as Sir Ruthven
Courtice Pounds as Richard in the original New York production (1887)
George Grossmith as Robin Oakapple
Bond and Barrington: Margaret discloses one of her "odd thoughts" to Despard.
Geraldine Ulmar as Rose in New York
Jessie Bond as Margaret
William Bridges-Adams' Act II set design for the 1921 revival.
Poster from 1887, with Rose and Robin

It was first performed by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy Theatre in London on 22 January 1887.

Sir Despard Murgatroyd of Ruddigore, A Wicked Baronet (bass-baritone or baritone)

Scene from The Yeomen of the Guard D'Oyly Carte Opera Company 1906 Revival

The Yeomen of the Guard

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Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Scene from The Yeomen of the Guard D'Oyly Carte Opera Company 1906 Revival
1883 poster similar to the one Gilbert said gave him the inspiration for the opera
Denny (Wilfred) and Bond (Phœbe), 1888
Souvenir illustration from the New York Casino Theatre production, 1888
Gilbert's illustration of "I have a song to sing, O!"
Geraldine Ulmar as Elsie
"Strange Adventure, Maiden Wedded"
"Consider each person's auricular"
"When a Wooer Goes A-Wooing"
"Jealous Torments", written for Barrington, was not ultimately performed by his replacement, newcomer Denny
Charles H. Workman as Jack Point
Cover of tin box, with scene from Yeomen
Illustration of the 15th century Tower of London
Poster for 1897 production

Sergeant Meryll of the Yeomen of the Guard (bass-baritone)

The Act II duet for Sergeant Meryll and Dame Carruthers, "Rapture, rapture", was often cut in 20th-century D'Oyly Carte Opera Company performances, apparently because it was thought to detract from the serious tone of the work.

From Act I of the 1907 D'Oyly Carte production at the Savoy Theatre

The Gondoliers

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Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

From Act I of the 1907 D'Oyly Carte production at the Savoy Theatre
Barrington and Pounds as Giuseppe and Marco
The gavotte scene: Circa 1890 advertisement for a touring company of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.
Savoy Theatre, 1881
The Entr'acte expresses its pleasure that Gilbert and Sullivan are reunited.
W. H. Denny as The Grand Inquisitor
Pounds as Marco, Act II
"Try we life-long"
Brownlow and Moore as Luiz and Casilda
"At charity dinners, the best of speech-spinners, I get 10% of the takings!"

Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain (bass-baritone)

From then on, it was never absent from the touring repertory until it was omitted from the final two seasons (September 1980–February 1982) before the closing of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

W. Russell Flint illustration, 1909: luncheon scene Act II: Hilarion (disguised as a woman) speaks with Ida.

Princess Ida

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Comic opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Comic opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

W. Russell Flint illustration, 1909: luncheon scene Act II: Hilarion (disguised as a woman) speaks with Ida.
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Brandram as Blanche
Bab illustration for Princess Ida
Caricature of Charles Darwin contemplating a bustle, in Fun, 1872
Guron (Warwick Gray), Arac (Richard Temple) and Scynthius (William Lugg), 1884
Lytton as Gama, 1921
Illustration by Gilbert for the "Darwinian Man" song; compare with Darwin image above.
Rutland Barrington as Hildebrand, 1884
"I can tell a woman's age in half a minute – and I do!" (A line from King Gama's song, "If you give me your attention.")
Ida, Blanche and the students, 1884.
"Gently, Gently": 1884 illustration
"Jump for Joy and Gaily Bound!" (from Act II)
Winifred Lawson as Princess Ida, 1922
"Gently, Gently": Darnton (Cyril, left), Oldham (Hilarion, right) and Granville (Florian), 1921

King Hildebrand (bass-baritone)

1 Starting in the 1920s, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company traditionally deleted this song.