THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

Antonio Medcalf (1886-91)

Antonio Medcalf was a baritone chorister, understudy, and small part player with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy from some point during the first run of The Mikado (probably in 1886) through the initial production of The Gondoliers, which ended in June 1891. He took small parts in the companion piece Mrs. Jarramie's Genie (Jim, February 1888-August 1889; then Ben-Zo-Leen, August-November 1889), The Yeomen of the Guard (Second Yeoman, October 1888-November 1889), and The Gondoliers (Antonio, December 1889-June 1891). He also filled in briefly for Rutland Barrington as Giuseppe in The Gondoliers in September 1890 and February 1891.

Medcalf was highly regarded by Richard D'Oyly Carte, who described him in an extraordinary November 1887 letter to Sullivan as one who "sings like a thorough artist and has a superb baritone voice." Carte was convinced that it would be a "very serious and regrettable mistake" if Barrington were allowed to sing "Fair Moon to Thee I Sing" in the 1887 revival of H.M.S. Pinafore, and went so far as to suggest that Medcalf (or Rosina Brandram as Buttercup!) sing it. Needless to say, nothing came of Carte's ideas.

Antonio was Medcalf's last role with the D'Oyly Carte. His only subsequent role on the London Stage was a brief one. He created the part of Hector Wellborn in a comic opera called Peterkin, produced at the Royalty in September 1893. Peterkin closed after just five performances. Medcalf later toured the British provinces, taking the role of Don Jose in William Vincent Wallace's Maritana in 1894.



Page modified June 9, 2003 © 2003 David Stone