D'Oyly Carte Opera Company: Rights' agreements, contracts and copyright materials, 1880s-1951

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

Rights and agreement documents, engagement contracts, account books and finance materials, as well as materials relating to Company management and individual members of the Company.

Administrative / Biographical History

Helen Carte helped D'Oyly Carte manage the company during his lifetime, and continued to run it after his death in 1901. It had established itself as a repertory touring company by the time of her death in 1913. The company passed to D'Oyly Carte's son, Rupert, who by this time was already chairman of the Savoy group of hotels. He ran the Company until 1948, staging repertory seasons at the Prince's Theatre and Sadler's Wells as well as the Savoy. He commissioned redesigns of some Gilbert and Sullivan operas by designers Percy Anderson, Charles Ricketts and Peter Goffin, and sanctioned alterations to some of the original libretti. In 1929 he had the Savoy Theatre rebuilt and modernised, reopening later that year with a restaging of The Gondoliers. Rupert D'Oyly Carte died in 1948 and the family businesses passed to his daughter, Bridget.