The original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company closed in 1982, but it wasn't long before a bequest and a gift got the famed Gilbert and Sullivan troupe back on the boards.
But if this is the beginning of one era, it is also the end of another, according to Michael Bishop, who heads the new D'Oyly Carte Opera.
"When we get back to England, we'll be getting ready to produce operas other than Gilbert and Sullivan," Bishop said. "The D'Oyly Carte is actually going to diversify. ... I think there is a place in Britain for us to become the national light opera company."
The D'Oyly Carte Opera Trust was one of the things that made possible the company's resurrection in 1988. Another was that before her death in 1985, Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte, granddaughter of founder Richard D'Oyly Carte, left a bequest of about $2 million "specifically to restart the company," said Bishop, who is also chairman of British Midland Airways.
Bishop's company matched the income from the bequest; "together, between the two, we were able to get the capital to restart the company."
The new D'Oyly Carte mounts two new productions a year and has an annual budget of $2 million. The company has now completed six restagings including this year's new "H.M.S. Pinafore" and "Trial by Jury."
In January, the company will leave London and move to a new permanent base in Birmingham, featuring space for a front office and a newly refurbished theater.
"I think we've got very firm ground to build on for the future," Bishop said. "But one of the most important things is to bring younger people back in to see the shows, because one of the things that was happening was that the audience was getting ancient along with the productions."