THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

Alice Pennington as Iolanthe in Iolanthe

Alice Pennington (1890-1903)

[Born c.1868]

Alice Pennington probably served in the chorus of the first New York production of The Gondoliers at the Park Theatre in January 1890. When The Gondoliers was restaged at Palmer's Theatre in February, she was promoted to Giulia, appearing in that role on the Company's return to the British Isles as Company "D" (May-July 1890). When Company "D" took up The Mikado and The Yeomen of the Guard from August to December, she appeared as Peep-Bo in the Japanese opera.

Miss Pennington was with Carte's Company "C" in 1891, taking over the small part of Fiametta in The Gondoliers from Geraldine St. Maur in April, and appearing on occasion as Peep-Bo. In October, following the departure of Haidee Crofton, Miss Pennington assumed named parts in all four operas on the schedule:Fleta in Iolanthe, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Phoebe in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Tessa in The Gondoliers.

From December 1891 to April 1892 she toured with Carte's Company "E" in the principal soubrette parts of Iolanthe in Iolanthe, Pitti-Sing, and Tessa. She then succeeded by Louie Henri and may have returned to the chourus. Still with Company "E" in March-April 1893, she appeared for a month or so as Iolanthe and Peep-Bo.

Her next named part would come from March to June 1894, when she played Salata in New York and Boston with Carte's American Utopia Limited Company. Upon her return to Britain, she was promoted to Princess Nekaya, which she played with Companies "A" (July-December 1894) and "E" (December 1894). She was replaced as Nekaya by Tessa Snelson in December, but would soon appear as Zerbinetta in Mirette (January-February 1895), Dolly Grigg in The Chieftain (February-August 1895), Lady Saphir in Patience (June 1895-February 1896), and Tessa in The Gondoliers (August 1895-February 1896).

On March 2, 1896, Company "E" gave the first provincial production on The Grand Duke, with Miss Pennington as Martha. In June she moved up to Lisa, replacing the departing Lina Carr, and when The Mikado and The Gondoliers were added to the repertoire in July, she took leading parts of Pitti-Sing and Tessa. Grand Duke and Gondoliers were dropped in April and July 1897 respectively, replaced by The Sorcerer and H.M.S. Pinafore, but Miss Pennington's only role would be Pitti-Sing until January 1898.

In January 1898 The Yeomen of the Guard was restored to the Company "E" repertoire. Alice Pennington would share Phoebe Meryll with Agnes Taylor that year. She would take the part of Olga in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein when the Offenbach opera joined the tour from June 1898 to April 1899. Miss Pennington's other roles in 1899 and early 1900 were Mrs. Partlett in The Sorcerer (January-April 1899 and January-February 1900), Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Asphodel in The Lucky Star (February-November 1899), and Deborah in Haddon Hall (October-November 1899).

From February 12, 1900 onwards, Company "E" presented The Rose of Persia only, Miss Pennington as "Scent-of-Lilies." After The Rose of Persia ran its course in June 1901, she was back in the chorus until January 1902 when she took over the part of Kathleen in The Emerald Isle. The tour ended in May 1902, but in October she turned up in South Africa, joining a D'Oyly Carte Company on tour as First Bridesmaid in Trial by Jury, Kate in The Pirates of Penzance, Saphir in Patience, Leila in Iolanthe, Phoebe in Yeomen, Vittoria in Gondoliers, and "Oasis-in-the-Desert" in The Rose of Persia. The South African tour ended in May 1903, and so, it appears, did Miss Pennington's D'Oyly Carte career.

She was married for a time to D'Oyly Carte baritone Lindsay Harman.



Page modified July 27, 2007 © 2001-07 David Stone