Janet Innes (1973-75) We knew her as Jenny and though she was a good worker in the chorus she was unfortunate that no covers were available for her to undertake while she was in the company. I presume she went back to her native Scotland and married, though I have no knowledge of her circumstances to date.
Arthur Jackson (1967-72) Now this was a very fine Operatic Baritone but didn’t reach it’s full potential until after he left the Carte. I sang with him in Verdi’s Giovanna D’Arco with Nonsuch Opera and he was a powerful Verdian. I am extremely surprised he didn’t go on to have a major career, but then again it is not given to every capable voice. Perhaps the pressures of such a life were too much for him, I don’t know but apart from singing in a few semi pro operas and concerts the last I heard of Arthur was that he was running a record store in London, a talent I’m sure he would have revelled in as his knowledge of classical and Opera recordings was encyclopaedic!
Susan Jackson (1967-69) Sue was one of those highly strung people who gave over 100% every time she appeared on stage. Not to say she overplayed her roles, she didn’t. In fact she was a humorous and convincing actress but sometimes she certainly over-sung them. She had a habit of going to the theatre in the early afternoon and practicing for nearly three hours before a show, and sometimes the voice tired during the evening. She married after she left the company and is living, I think, in Cheshire or Spain or both!
Christine Johnson (1973-75)
Gareth Jones (1973-79) One of my best friends, Gareth also went into West End shows and into Phantom three times. He became the natural successor to Kenneth Sandford playing the roles mostly associated with him in the New D'Oyly Carte, Carl Rosa and the Raymond Gubbay productions. He is always in demand for some G&S production or other but soon he will be ringing the changes when he takes on two Shakespeare roles for Regent Park's summer season. He was married to Vivien Tierney with whom he has a son, David and is now married to the very ebullient Esther Beresford Muravyeva. He seems happy as a pig in Shi---re Oak!
Peggy Ann Jones (1958-73) One of the all time great comic performers, certainly of my time with the company. Her Pitti Sing, Mad Margaret, Lady Ella and Mrs Partlet were as good as it gets and she was always ready with a quip and a laugh. Another one of the Caravan brigade she told us of the time they were parked on a car park near the theatre in Cardiff when she was accosted by a flasher. When asked what she did then she said she invited him in --- but he ran off! Peggy went into Television work, appearing in cameo roles and in many commercials. She now lives in retirement in Stamford I think.
Janette Kearns (1970-73) A lovely girl from Australia who shocked the wardrobe mistress one day by declaring how homesick she was with the Aussie expression, “I feel like a Shag on a rock!”, meaning she was lonely. She and I used to sing duets and lieder on some afternoons, accompanied by Denis Olsen, another Aussi. She went into the ENO after the Carte then back to Australia where she ran a choir, gave singing lessons and married a vicar.
Gillian Knight (1959-65) , This is truly one of the great D'Oyly Carte Mezzsos who's voice is as firm and true today (she is now in her late, late sixties if she doesn't mind my saying) as it was when she started out. Because of her wonderful technique the voice has developed and strengthened making her a foremost Opera singer too and she has carved a major career for herself at Covent Garden and in Europe. Her daughter Rebecca, no mean singer herself, is one of the Opera Babes, a very successful 'crossover 'act.
Adrian Lawson (1962-65, 1971, 1973) Adrian was and still is an energetic and humorous performer who is always ready for a laugh. I have worked with him on many occasions since leaving the company and he is always good value. I have recorded some of the anecdotes in which Adrian appeared in D'Oyly Days but one of my most sharply recalled memories was when I was bitten by his dog. We were rehearsing for a concert at Adrian's house and his dog came and shoved his nose into my hand. Subconsciously I began to rub his ears, which my old dog used to like, when he suddenly bit me. The resulting trip to hospital for tetanus shots certainly makes this one of my cherished memories about Adrian! He has been married twice and lives in New Mills, Cheshire?
Thomas Lawlor (1963-71, 1971, 1974-75) Tom is an ebullient Irishman who's heavy Bass Baritone was more suited to grand opera than some of the roles he essayed in the Carte. He was a very fine and committed performer and when he left the company went into opera at Glyndebourne for many seasons. After his marriage to Pauline Wales ended he re-married, to a nurse I believe, but this too ended and the last I heard of Tom he had just survived a cancer scare and is living in the USA.
Patricia Leonard (1972-82)Pat and her husband Mike Buchan, or Fox, as we first knew him joined the company together. She was promoted to the Contralto roles which became her metier and which became recognised as 'The Pat Leonard roles', much as they had before with Christine Palmer. Since leaving the company she and Mike became landlords of various hostelries while still managing her busy concert and performing career. The hostelries have gone now but the concerts and G&S performances will continue for many years to come, I hope! They live in semi-retirement in Shropshire.
Michael Lessiter (1979-82) I met Mike when we both joined the London Concert Artists and sang in concert together. I last saw him at the sixtieth birthday party of a mutual friend, John Strange where we both joined in an impromptu sing-song which was a hoot. Mike is married and lives in Kent I think.
James Lewington (1963-65) Jimmy Lewington was a pal of Glyn Adsams and I met him during one of several recordings we did with the Carte. He was a memeber of the John McCarthy singers who often used to bolster the chorus for recordings. The only story I recall about him was on the day of the in-house company auditions called the Field Day when he chose to sing Frederick's aria from Pirates. As he bagan he had a mental glitch and the only word that came out was, "...da daaa, da da da da da breast....!" Typical.
Barbara Lilley (1975-81) Affectionately known as 'fag-ash lil' because of her heavy smoking habit Barbara appeared with me in one concert. I feel her voice had seen better days as she was experiencing a cold at the time yet she was a good professional oerformer and gave good measure to the audience. She is married to Peter Lyon.
Laureen Livingstone (1982) I remember Laureen coming to the English National Opera to sing tSophie in Der Rosenkavalier which she did with wonderful aplomb and a glorious high lyric soprano. She now on the vocal faculty at Trinity College of Music.
Beti Lloyd-Jones (1963-71, 1971, 1974-75) Beti was for me the embodiment of the D'Oyly Carte Chorus. She was a mainstay of the company, a very good worker and always gave good performances when she had to go on. She was also the ring-leader of the 'Royal Family', a small gang of long-serving female choristers which held sway in the dressing room. Beti married Mike McKenzie and moved with him to Scotland. Unfortunately Mike died recently and Beti , I'm told is contemplating returning to her native Cheshire.
Elizabeth Lowry (1967-70)Liz was a jolly person and was at music college with Frances Gregory and Sue Minshall. The daughter of a vicar from Monk Fryston in Yorkshire she certainly knew how to have fun. It was Liz who, shortly before she left the company, during the Mikado's song when all the girls were ranged across the stage, backs to audience, deposited four hard-boiled eggs centre stage, much to the delight of John Ayldon, John Reed etc. I believe Liz married and went to live in America.
This addendum lists all the later choristers and a few previous I either know little of or have some bearing on my Tales. Further information on these, or any of the others would be welcome.
Margaret Lynn-Williams (1980-82)
Peter Lyon (1979-82) Peter took over some of the roles which Gareth Jones had heretofore been playing and is married to Barbara Lilley. That's all I know of him.
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