Jennifer Toye as Yum-Yum in The Mikado

Jennifer Toye (1954-56, 1956-65)

[Born North Wales]

Soprano Jennifer Toye, real name Jennifer Gay Bishop, received her vocal training at the British Institute in Florence under her uncle, Francis Toye. She joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorus in September 1953, after playing with local amateur societies in her native North Wales. During her first two-and-a-half year tour with the Company she appeared in named parts only in Princess Ida--as Ada (1954-56), Chloe (1954-55), and as Sacharissa (on occasion, 1954-55), and The Gondoliers--as Giulia (1954-55).

She left the Company in April 1956, but returned in November or December of that year, filling in on occasion as Fleta in Iolanthe during the remainder of the season.

In July 1957 she assumed two small parts--Sacharissa in Princess Ida, and Kate in The Yeomen of the Guard (shared with Jean Dent), and around April 1958 added the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury. In September 1958 she assumed Kate in Yeomen full-time and added Casilda in The Gondoliers. In the two season spanning 1957-59 she also appeared on occasion as Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.

Miss Toye began the 1959-60 season as the Plaintiff, Isabel, Celia in Iolanthe, Kate in Yeomen, and Casilda. In May 1960 Jean Hindmarsh left the Company and Jennifer Toye was promoted to principal soprano, assuming Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, the Lady Ella in Patience, and Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard. The only role she retained from earlier in the season was Casilda. In September 1961 she added Yum-Yum in The Mikado, while dropping Ella in Patience, and in November of that year, when Princess Ida was revived, she took the part of Lady Psyche. But she also shared Mabel with the returning Jean Hindmarsh and Elsie with Mary Sansom in 1961-62. She was also one of several artists to appear as Celia in Iolanthe that season.

In 1962-63 Miss Toye's only full-time roles were Yum-Yum and Casilda. She was Celia until January 1963 when that part was given to Jennifer Marks, but she reclaimed Mabel from Miss Hindmarch that month. She also assumed Kate in Yeomen in July 1963 when Daphne Gill left the Company.

Patience rejoined the repertoire in September 1963, with Miss Toye again as Ella. She was also Yum-Yum, Kate (Yeomen), and Casilda, and filled in as Phyllis and Celia in Iolanthe, and Zorah in Ruddigore during 1963-64. For her last season with the Company (August 1964-June 1965) she was the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, Ella (shared with Valerie Masterson), Yum-Yum, Zorah (shared with Margaret Eales), and Casilda.

During her tenure with the Company she recorded Peep-Bo in The Mikado (1957), Celia in Iolanthe (1960), Casilda in The Gondoliers (1961), and Ella in Patience (1961). She may also be heard as the voice of Zorah in the 1967 Halas & Batchelor cartoon version of Ruddigore.

Another uncle, Geoffrey Toye, was D'Oyly Carte musical director for three London seasons between 1919 and 1924.

Page modified August 29, 2010 © 2001-10 David Stone