THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

Helier Le Maistre as Luiz in The Gondoliers

Helier Le Maistre (1887-92, 1893-98, 1899-1902)

[Born St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, 25 Aug 1866]

Helier de Jersey Le Maistre began his D'Oyly Carte career in the chorus of one of D'Oyly Carte's touring companies in 1887, though a precise date and indeed the specific company remain elusive. He took his first named part in January 1889 as First Yeoman on tour in the first provincial production of The Yeomen of the Guard with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "C." Following the sudden death of David Fisher, Le Maistre filled in for a time (May-June 1889) as Wilfred Shadbolt until Fred Billington took over the part and Le Maistre returned to First Yeoman.

In January 1890 Le Maistre was in New York as Antonio in Carte's ill-fated Park Theatre production of The Gondoliers. When the opera was recast and restaged at Palmer's Theatre in February he was one of the few principals to survive. In fact he was promoted:to Luiz. He returned to the British Isles with the "American Company," now Carte's Company "D" in May 1890, then transferred back to Company "C" in July, playing Luiz all the while. In December 1890, Company "C" added The Mikado to its repertoire, and in January 1891 took up The Yeomen of the Guard as well. Le Maistre played Pish-Tush and the Lieutenant of the Tower in the new works.

In April 1891 he was called to the Savoy as Luiz replacing Wallace Brownlow, who had left the Savoy for the Royal English Opera, in the last months there of The Gondoliers. When The Nautch Girl was produced at the Savoy in June 1891, Le Maistre was understudy to Frank Wyatt as Baboo Currie, but in September, when Greenbank & Cellier's Captain Billy was added to the Savoy bill, Le Maistre took the title role of the pirate. He also replaced Wyatt as Baboo Currie for a spell, but was in turn replaced in the role by Fred Storey. In January 1892 The Nautch Girl gave way to The Vicar of Bray. LeMaistre continued as Captain Billy (on the bill from February 1, 1892), and in the waning weeks of the run (June 1892) replaced Richard Green as Thomas Merton in The Vicar.

The Savoy closed on June 19, 1892, and we lose track of Helier LeMaistre until April-May 1893 when he turned up with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "E" as Ben Barnacle in Stephens and Solomon's Billee Taylor. He would remain with Company "E" until December 1898 appearing in the following named parts: Barnabas Bellows-to-mend in Haddon Hall (May-November 1893), Mr. Goldbury in the first provincial production of Utopia Limited (December 1893-March 1895), Bill Bobstay in H.M.S. Pinafore (November-December 1894), Gerard de Montigny in Mirette (December 1894-February 1895), Ferdinand de Roxas in The Chieftain (February-August 1895), Major Murgatroyd in Patience (May 1895-February 1896), Giuseppe in The Gondoliers (August 1895-February 1896 and July 1896-July 1897), the Prince of Monte Carlo in the first provincial production of The Grand Duke (March 1896-April 1897), the Mikado in The Mikado (July 1896-December 1898), Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre in The Sorcerer (June 1897-June 1898), Dick Deadeye in Pinafore (July 1897-December 1898), the Lieutenant in Yeomen (January-December 1898), and Baron Puck in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (June-December 1898).

Le Maistre left Company "E" in December 1898 but returned in April 1899. Between April 1899 and February 1900 he appeared as Dick Deadeye, the Mikado, the Lieutenant, Siracco in The Lucky Star (until November 1899), George Vernon in Haddon Hall (October-November 1899), the Counsel to the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury (November-December 1899), the Usher in Trial (January-February 1900), and Sir Marmaduke (January-February 1900). From February 12, 1900, until December 1900, Company "E" played The Rose of Persia exclusively with Helier Le Maistre as Abdullah. From December 1900 to June 1901, they also played Patience with LeMaistre portraying Colonel Calverley.

Le Maistre then transferred to D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "D," also known as the "Savoy Touring Company," where he toured from September 1901 to February 1902 as Black Dan in The Emerald Isle. It was his last engagement with the D'Oyly Carte organization.

Helier Le Maistre was married to D'Oyly Carte contralto Nellie Wyatt.



Page modified July 29, 2005 © 2001-05 David Stone