THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

James Wilbraham (1883-92)

[Born Dublin, Ireland c.1853, died Bath, Somerset 9 Apr 1921]

Tenor James Wilbraham (real name St. John James Cottingham) appeared on tour and at the Savoy, primarily as a chorister, small part player, and understudy, from December 1883 to June 1892. His first role was Mr. Wranglebury in the companion piece Mock Turtles with Mr. D'Oyly Carte's "Pinafore and Pirates" Company between December 1883 and February 1884. With Carte's "D" ("Princess Ida" No. 1) Company in August and September 1884, Wilbraham filled in for a time for Courtice Pounds as Prince Hilarion.

His first role at the Savoy was the Associate in Trial by Jury for the October 1884 revival of The Sorcerer and Trial. But in January 1885 he was back on tour, this time as principal tenor with Mr. D'Oyly Carte's "A" Company, appearing until December of that year as Alexis in The Sorcerer, Hilarion in Princess Ida, and (beginning in June) Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore. He also took the role of Mr. Round in Desprez & Solomon's curtain-raiser Round and Square which played with The Sorcerer for portions of 1885.

When "A" Company was disbanded in December 1885, Wilbraham returned to the Savoy chorus. Over the next six-and-a-half years he took the small parts of Amandus in The Carp (another curtain-raiser, February 1886-November 1887), Sir Gilbert Murgatroyd, one of the ghosts in Ruddigore (January-November 1887), Ernest Peppercorn in Mrs. Jarramie's Genie (yet another one-act companion piece, February 1888-November 1889), First Yeoman in The Yeomen of the Guard (October 1888-November 1889), Annibale in The Gondoliers (December 1889-July 1890), and the Huntsman in The Vicar of Bray (January-June 1892). During the production of The Yeomen of the Guard, Wilbraham also filled in on occasion as Colonel Fairfax (September and November 1889) and Leonard Meryll. It appears he left the D'Oyly Carte in June 1892.

Wilbraham's first name is occasionally given in programs and other sources as Charles.



Page modified November 1, 2013 © 2003-13 David Stone