Isabelle Muncey (1877-78, 1883-84)

Contralto Isabelle Muncey was in the chorus with the Comedy Opera Company at the Opera Comique under D'Oyly Carte management during the original production of The Sorcerer (November 1877-May 1878). She appeared, sometimes as Lisa Muncey, as the Second Lady in Waiting in the James Albery & Alfred Cellier curtain raiser The Spectre Knight (February-March and May-August 1878), and filled in on occasion for Harriett Everard as Mrs. Partlett in The Sorcerer. She may have left the Company after The Sorcerer, for when The Spectre Knight was revived as a companion piece to H.M.S. Pinafore in May 1878, the Second Lady in Waiting was played by Rose Hervey.

When the rift occurred between Carte and the directors of the Comedy Opera Company at the end of July 1879, Miss Muncey seized the opportunity to take a named part (Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore) with the directors. She played Hebe throughout the directors' unauthorized (by Gilbert, Sullivan, or Carte) production at the Imperial and Royal Olympic Theatres, where the opera ultimately closed in October for lack of public support. She later appeared in Margate (July 1882) and on tour in a comic opera by Frederic Wood and George Fox called The Captain of the Guard.

Miss Muncey eventually returned to the D'Oyly Carte fold as principal contralto with a touring company in February 1883, replacing Fanny Harrison as Queen of the Fairies with Mr. D'Oyly Carte's No. 2 "Iolanthe" Company. She remained with the Company, later known as Mr. D'Oyly Carte's "E" Company, until December 1884, playing the Fairy Queen and, from July 1884 onward, the Lady Jane in Patience.

Page created February 24, 2003 © 2003 David Stone