Bessel Adams (1899-1907)

[Born Ireland 1873, died Calcutta, India, February 1923]

Bessel Adams was known as Totie Adams when she first appeared in the programs of D’Oyly Carte’s "C" Company in 1899 in the roles of Fiametta in The Gondoliers (January), Phylla in Utopia Limited (April), Lady Ella in Patience (June and December), Kate in The Yeomen of the Guard (June and December), and Princess Zara in Utopia Limited (June and December).

As Bessel Adams, she later appeared in smaller soprano roles with D’Oyly Carte’s "C" (later Repertory) Company from 1902 through November 1906 appearing regularly as Lady Ella in Patience, Celia in Iolanthe, Sacharissa in Princess Ida (switching to Ada temporarily in 1905), and Fiametta in The Gondoliers (switching to Giulia briefly in late 1905).

During that period, she also had a short stint as Kate in the "curtain raiser" The Outpost (1902), and for portions of 1905-06 played the Bridesmaid in Trial by Jury, Peep-Bo in The Mikado, and Kate in The Yeomen of the Guard. She also substituted on occasion as Lady Psyche in Princess Ida (1902), Kate in The Yeomen of the Guard (1902), and Casilda in The Gondoliers (1905).

Along with her husband, the great comic baritone C. Herbert Workman, and others, she left the touring Repertory Company to appear in the First London Repertory Season at the Savoy from December 1906 through August 1907. Her only named role during that Season was Fiametta in The Gondoliers. This was her last appearance with the D’Oyly Carte and her last on the London Stage.

In 1914, Bessel Adams accompanied her husband to Australia where he performed with the J. C. Williamson Company. It was on a Williamson tour of the Far East that Bessel Adams died in Calcutta in February 1923. Her husband never made it home. Five months later, C. H. Workman fell ill enroute back to Australia. He died off the coast of Hong Kong and was buried at sea.

Page modified February 15, 2003 © 2001-03 David Stone