Ruth Vincent as Gretchen in The Grand Duke

Ruth Vincent (1894-99)

[Born Grand Yarmouth, Norfolk 22 Mar 1877, died London 4 Jul 1955]

Soprano Ruth Vincent first appeared with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in the chorus of The Chieftain at the Savoy from December 1894 to March 1895. From March to May 1895 she was on tour with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "D." At some point thereafter she returned to the Savoy, where on March 7, 1896, she created the small part of Gretchen in The Grand Duke. She also understudied Florence Perry as Lisa, going on for her on occasion in April and May 1896 while Miss Perry filled in for Ilka von Pálmay as Julia Jellicoe.

Miss Vincent returned to the chorus for the July 1896-February 1897 revival of The Mikado, but then created the role of Dorothea in His Majesty (February-April 1897). She was Kate in the first revival of The Yeomen of the Guard (May 5, 1897), filled in briefly for Miss von Pálmay as Elsie Maynard in July, then assumed the part of Elsie in August when Miss von Pálmay left the Savoy. Miss Vincent next appeared as Iza in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (December 1897-March 1898), Casilda in The Gondoliers (March-May and July-September 1898), Laine in The Beauty Stone (May-July 1898), Aline in The Sorcerer (September-December 1898), Princess Laoula in The Lucky Star (January-May 1899), and Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore (June-November 1899).

Dismayed when she was not selected for the leading soprano role (Sultana Zubedyah) in The Rose of Persia, Miss Vincent rejected the part she was assigned ("Scent-of-Lilies") and left the D'Oyly Carte for good in November 1899. (Ellen Beach Yaw, the American soprano selected for the Sultana, was dismissed after two weeks in the role. The opportunity to replace her went to Isabel Jay who went on to star in the next several productions at the Savoy.)

Oddly, Ruth Vincent did get a chance to play the Sultana, not in London with the D'Oyly Carte, but in New York in a Charles Frohman production at Daly's Theatre. The Rose of Persia was not a success in New York, closing after just 25 performances on September 29, 1900.

Miss Vincent reappeared in London as Merva Sunningdale in The Medal and the Maid (Lyric, April-September 1903). She went on to take leading roles in Veronique (Apollo, 1904-05), A Girl on the Stage (Prince of Wales's, 1906), Trial by Jury (as the Plaintiff in the Ellen Terry Jubilee celebration, June 12, 1906), Amäsis (New and Criterion, 1906-07), Tom Jones (Apollo, 1907), The Belle of Brittany (Queen's, 1908-09), and A Persian Princess (Queen's, 1909). She made her first of several appearances in grand opera at Covent Garden in February 1910, made a concert tour of the provinces in 1911, and made her debut in oratorio in 1912, appearing at the 1912 Hereford and 1913 Gloucester Festivals. In her later years she appeared mostly at the Palladium, Coliseum, and other variety houses. She was also an Associate of the Philharmonic Society.

Ruth Vincent recorded a number of songs for HMV and Columbia between 1904 and 1920. None were from her D'Oyly Carte repertoire, but one, "The Waltz Song" from Edward German's Tom Jones, has been preserved on the CD "The Art of the Savoyard" (Pearl GEMM CD 9991). Her younger sister Madge Vincent was a D'Oyly Carte chorister from 1898 to 1900.

Page modified October 9, 2001 © 2001 David Stone