Roberta Morrell as Peep-Bo in The Mikado

Roberta Morrell (1972-82)

[Born West Bromwich, West Midlands 1950]

Contralto Roberta Morrell studied singing at the Birmingham School of Music and the Royal College of Music, London, before joining the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorus in April 1972. She appeared on occasion from 1972 to 1977 as Inez in The Gondoliers, Kate in The Pirates of Penzance, and Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore.

In July 1978, following Lyndsie Holland's departure and Patricia Leonard's assumption of the principal contralto roles, Miss Morrell took Hebe, Kate in Pirates, and Peep-Bo in The Mikado on a full-time basis. She would give up Kate in 1979, but played Hebe and Peep-Bo until the last days of the Company in February 1982. Miss Morrell also filled in from time to time as Inez (through 1980) and Isabel in Pirates (1978-79). While with the Company she appeared as Peep-Bo in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. She may be heard on the Company's "Last Night" album in that part as well.

Since 1982 Miss Morrell has worked as a freelance performer and director for amateur operatic societies in the United Kingdom and North America. She was director of "The Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan" for a number of years and, along with Kenneth Sandford, co-directed the Gawsworth Summer Opera in Gilbert & Sullivan productions for five seasons. She has been guest speaker at Gilbert & Sullivan conferences at Buxton, Toronto, and Philadelphia, has appeared in numerous television programs, and has evaluated and coached drama students at the Birmingham School of Speech Training and Dramatic Arts.

Roberta Morrell is the author of a biography of (she accurately describes it as a "tribute to") Kenneth Sandford, her friend and mentor. The book, "Kenneth Sandford: 'merely corroborative detail'," was published by Scotia Press, Leicester, in 1999.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone