Meston Reid as Leonard Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard

Meston Reid (1974-82)

[Born Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire 21 Mar 1945, died 31 Oct 1993]

Alexander Meston Reid began his musical career as a boy soprano. At the age of eighteen he joined the Lyric Musical Society of Aberbeen, and at the same age sang with the Inverness Opera Company. He made his professional debut at the Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen, in a Scottish variety show, then sang with Sadler's Wells Opera for four years, first in the chorus before graduating to small parts. His first solo role was Luntha in The King and I at Eastbourne, Sussex, in 1972. In 1973 he appeared in The Leslie Crowther Show, and later that year was Sid-el-Karr in The Desert Song.

He joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in August 1974, filling in that month for Malcolm Williams as Earl Tolloller in Iolanthe. In September, after Williams left, Reid assumed principal tenor roles of Mr. Box in Cox and Box, Alexis in The Sorcerer, Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, the Duke of Dunstable in Patience, Tolloller in Iolanthe, Richard Dauntless in Ruddigore, and Marco in The Gondoliers. When Utopia Limited was revived for the 1975 Centenary season, Reid took the part of Captain Fitzbattleaxe.

In September 1975 (with the departure of Colin Wright and the addition of Geoffrey Shovelton) tenor roles were shuffled. Reid now played Ralph, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Richard Dauntless, Leonard Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Marco. He added Prince Hilarion in Princess Ida when that opera was revived in February 1977, and Alexis Pointdextre when The Sorcerer was restored in October 1979.

Reid remained with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company through its final days in February 1982. During his years with the Company he recorded Fitzbattleaxe (Utopia, 1976), Ernest Dummkopf (The Grand Duke, 1976), Marco (Gondoliers, 1977), Aesculapius Carboy (The Zoo, 1978), and Leonard Meryll (Yeomen, 1979).

After leaving the D'Oyly Carte he appeared in the chorus of The Metropolitan Mikado (GLC Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 1985). He also sang with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as in the show Grand Tour of Melody with Richard Baker. In August 1989 he made a recording of traditional Scottish songs, followed by two tours of Scotland, and in 1993 was appearing in concerts with "The Stars of Operetta."

From 1987 to 1993 Meston Reid also worked as director of the Godalming Operatic Society, an amateur society with a long history of ex-D'Oyly Carte directors and producers. He died suddenly in October 1993 at the age of 48.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone