Richard Temple as Strephon in Iolanthe

Richard Temple (1877-81, 1882-89, 1890-91, 1894-95, 1896, 1896-97, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1904, 1908-09)

[Born London 2 Mar 1847, died London 19 Oct 1912]

After performing as a singer and amateur actor, Richard Barker Cobb Temple made his professional stage debut at the Crystal Palace in May 1869 as Count Rodolpho in La Sonnambula. He subsequently toured the provinces with opera and opera-bouffe companies, and in 1875 directed and appeared as Thomas Brown in a production of Arthur Sullivan's The Zoo at the Philharmonic Theatre, Islington.

In November 1877 he was engaged by Richard D'Oyly Carte to create the part of Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre in the first production of The Sorcerer at the Opera Comique. Then in May 1878 Temple created the role of Dick Deadeye in H.M.S. Pinafore at the same theatre. Pinafore ran until February 1880. During the original runs of The Sorcerer and Pinafore, Temple also took parts in the short companion pieces that accompanied the longer works. He was Fred Fancourt in Dora's Dream (November 1877-February 1878), the Spectre Knight in The Spectre Knight (February-March and May-August 1878), General Deelah in Cups and Saucers (August 1878 until some point in 1879 when he was replaced by Frank Thornton), and Selworthy in After All! (August 1878 until late 1879 when he was replaced by George Temple).

After a break during which Carte staged a children's production of Pinafore, Temple was the Pirate King in the first London production of The Pirates of Penzance (April 1880-April 1881). He next created the part of Colonel Calverley in Patience (Opera Comique, April 1881), but left in September of that year, shortly before the opera moved to the Savoy, and was replaced by Walter Browne. Temple returned to the Opera Comique where, from October-December 1881, he appeared as King Portico in a revival of Gilbert & Clay's Princess Toto.

He returned to the D'Oyly Carte for Iolanthe (Savoy, November 1882-January 1884) in which he created the role of the Strephon. He then appeared there in Princess Ida (January-October 1884) in which he was the original Arac, and a revival of The Sorcerer (October 1884-March 1885), in which he revisited Sir Marmaduke. He next created the Mikado of Japan in The Mikado (March 1885-January 1887) and Sir Roderick Murgatroyd in Ruddigore (January-November 1887). When Ruddigore closed, Carte produced revivals of H.M.S. Pinafore (November 1887-March 1888), The Pirates of Penzance (March-June 1888), and The Mikado (June-September 1888) with Temple repeating his original roles in all three. Temple next created the part of Sergeant Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard (Savoy, October 1888-November 1889).

Richard Temple did not have a part in The Gondoliers when it opened at the Savoy in December 1889, but in February 1890 he was one of the replacements rushed to New York for the restaging of The Gondoliers at Palmer's Theatre, taking the role of Giuseppe. He continued to appear as Giuseppe when the Company returned to the British Isles as Carte's "D" Company (May-July 1890). In July 1890 he left the D'Oyly Carte again to pursue a career as a director:he directed Gounod's The Mock Doctor and Grossmith's Cups and Saucers at the Globe Theatre in December 1890.

But Temple was back with D'Oyly Carte (Company "D") briefly the following year, touring as Pyjama in The Nautch Girl from October to December 1891. He then left again, making occasional appearances in London in L'Impresario (Olympic, 1892), The Golden Web (Lyric, 1893), Miami (Princess's, 1893), Morocco Bound (Shaftesbury and Trafalgar, 1893-94), and Wapping Old Stairs (Vaudeville, 1894). He also directed matinees of Orpheus (Lyceum, 1892) and Genovena (Drury Lane, 1893), and produced the aforementioned Wapping Old Stairs.

He returned to the Savoy in October 1894 replacing John Coates as Baron Van den Berg in Mirette. In December he created the part of Sancho in The Chieftain, and later that month played Sergeant Bouncer when Cox and Box was added to the bill. Temple left the D'Oyly Carte organization yet again in March 1895. In November of that year he produced a matinee of Dido and Aeneas at the Lyceum.

He returned to the Savoy briefly in January and February 1896 to give some performances in the title role for a revival of The Mikado, then moved on to the Opera Comique where he stage managed a production of Shamus O'Brien from March to May of that year.

In November 1896 he was back at the Savoy again, replacing Scott Fishe as the Mikado in yet another revival. He did not have a role in His Majesty (February-April 1897), but when The Yeomen of the Guard was given its first revival (May-November 1897) Temple was once more Sergeant Meryll.

Temple was still far from done with the D'Oyly Carte. In December 1898 he filled in for Jones Hewson at the Savoy as Sir Marmaduke for the last weeks of the revival of The Sorcerer. From June to November 1899 he was Dick Deadeye again for the third revival of H.M.S. Pinafore at the Savoy. In October 1904 he appeared briefly on tour in two of his original roles--as Dick Deadeye in Pinafore and Strephon in Iolanthe, and in October 1908 he returned to the Savoy to give a few performances in place of Henry A. Lytton as Deadeye during the Second London Repertory Season. For the last month of the season (March 1909), he was Sergeant Meryll in Yeomen once again.

While he appeared on stage now and again in his later years, Temple devoted himself primarily to recitals and to teaching. He also did some recording in 1902-03 for the Gramophone & Telephone Company. His renditions of "A More Humane Mikado" and "O Better Far to Live and Die" appear on the Pearl CD "The Art of the Savoyard" (GEMM CD 9991).

Page modified May 2, 2006 © 2001-06 David Stone