Hugh Enes Blackmore as Sir Bailey Barre in Utopia (Limited)

Hugh Enes Blackmore (1893-96, 1908-22)

[Born Greenock, Scotland 1 Oct 1863, died 21 May 1945]

Hugh Enes Blackmore, the "Iron-Throated Tenor," created the role of Sir Bailey-Barre in Utopia (Limited) at the Savoy in October 1893. It was the beginning of a career with the D'Oyly Carte that would span 30 years. When Utopia closed in June 1894, Blackmore went on tour with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "E" for the next two-and-a-half years, appearing as Captain Fitzbattleaxe in Utopia Limited, Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, Picorin in Mirette, Vasquez in The Chieftain, the Duke of Dunstable in Patience, Marco in The Gondoliers, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, and Ernest Dummkopf in the first Provincial production of The Grand Duke.

He left the D'Oyly Carte in December 1896, but continued his stage career appearing in London in 1898 and 1899 in the musical comedy Milord Sir Smith at the Comedy Theatre.

Blackmore returned to the D'Oyly Carte and the Savoy for the Second London Repertory Season in April 1908, as a member of the chorus. He made a few appearances as Griffin David in the Fenn and Faraday curtain-raiser A Welsh Sunset when it played with H.M.S. Pinafore in September and October 1908, before going on tour with Carte's Repertory Opera Company later that month.

From October 1908 through June 1909, he played Leonard Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard and Francesco in The Gondoliers in addition to his duties as a chorister. The following season he yielded Francesco to Hollis Coote, while continuing to play Leonard. (He may have filled in for Coote in March 1910 when the latter substituted for Henry Herbert as Marco.)

Henry Herbert took over Leonard in July 1910, and Blackmore's duties were limited to the chorus for the next two years. In the 1912-13 season he took the small role of First Yeoman in The Yeomen of the Guard, a part he held until he left the Repertory company briefly in December 1918. In July 1913 he added Annibale in The Gondoliers, yielding it only from March to June 1914 when he moved up to the larger role of Luiz temporarily. He also filled in for shorter periods as Tolloller in Iolanthe (1914-15), Nanki-Poo in The Mikado (1917), Marco in The Gondoliers (1917), and Alexis in The Sorcerer (1918), and assumed the role of Cyril in Princess Ida on a full-time basis when Dewey Gibson left the Company in February 1918.

Blackmore was relegated to chorus duty for a spell beginning in December 1918, but in July 1919 reclaimed his roles of Leonard (for the first time in nine years) and Annibale, though not Cyril. Leo Darnton took over Leonard in July 1921, and Blackmore was left with Annibale and an occasional substitution for Derek Oldham as Tolloller, before leaving the stage in April 1922. He served as D'Oyly Carte's stage manager for the 1922-23 season, but was replaced in that capacity the following season by Frederick Hobbs.

"Blackie" was married to Tessa Snelson, another member of the D'Oyly Carte. They were among the earliest members of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society where both served on the Entertainment Committee, supervising "dramatic recitals" for the Society in celebration of the operas' jubilees. He also served on the Society's Executive Committee.

Page modified February 28, 2003 © 2001-03 David Stone