Designed by C. I. Phipps and decorated by Collinson & Locke, the Savoy Theatre was the most beautifully appointed theatre in Europe when it opened its doors for the first time in October 1881.
But in 1929, Rupert D'Oyly Carte decided that a modern home was needed for his revitalised opera company and so, on 3rd June, 1929, the Victorian auditorium was invaded by workmen and demolished. 135 days later "a gleaming palace had sprung up". The architect was Frank Tugwell and Basil Ionides supplied the decorative designs.
The theatre re-opened on 21st October, 1929. The first production was a revival of The Gondoliers, with new costumes designed by Charles Ricketts.
Ernest Newman, a famous critic, wrote:
I can imagine no gayer or more exhilarating frame for the Gilbert and Sullivan operas than the Savoy as it is now. It was a subtle stroke to open with The Gondoliers; there is a peculiar richness of blood in the music of this work that makes the new theatre and the new designs and dresses by Mr. Charles Ricketts particularly appropriate. In this opulent setting the opera acquires a new vitality.
The performance was conducted by Dr. Malcolm Sargent, and the theatre's only box was occupied by Lady Gilbert.
Three other operas, HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and Patience, were provided with new costumes by George Sherringham for that season.
The season was commemorated by the issuing of a colour souvenir. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
| D'Oyly Carte
30 August, 2011
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