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Matlock & District Amateur Operatic Society, 1930 - The Gondoliers
People who lived in the Matlocks : Photographs, Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Gianetta Marco Giuseppe Tessa
Miss Lily Jones Mr. A. S. Moreton Mr. E. O. Simms Miss C. Clare Smith
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The Cinema House, 1922

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1930 - entire cast


1938 & 1939



Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Gondoliers", or "The King of Barataria" was first performed by Matlock & District Operatic Society on the stage of the Cinema House (later the Ritz Cinema) between 26th February and 1st March, 1930. The musical directors were Lubin G. Wildgoose and his son Harold D Wildgoose and the shows producer was Edmund Ashley. The appointment of the two Wildgoose men for the 1930 performances was deemed to be a stroke of genius by a newspaper columnist and Mr. Ashley's production was also said to be of the first order[1]. The official photographers for the show were the local firm of W. N. Statham & Sons. All the pictures here, of the principal characters, were published in the Society's official souvenir programme.

The wigs and costumes were hired from J. B. Simmons & Co. Ltd., King Street, Covent Garden and the scenery, which can be seen on the next page, came from Robson, Paling & Co. of Manchester.

There are twice as many principal roles in "The Gondoliers" than in any other Gilbert and Sullivan opera, seventeen (excluding the heralds) in total. A reviewer singled out some of them for special praise: "we must speak of that splendid quartette Miss Lily Jones, Miss C. Clare Smith. Mr A. Moreton and Mr. E. O. Simms (see them in the top image). We shower praises upon them, for no performance of "The Gondoliers" can described good without Gianetta, Tessa, Marco and Giuseppe. They were, as this quartet ever must be, if the production is properly done, the biggest feature of the evening. ... It is really extraordinary how Matlock and the neighbourhood can supply so many brilliant artistes"[1].

Don Alhambra del Bolero
Mr. Sam Fowkes

Mrs. J. H. Housley

Mr. Henry Askew
Mrs. E. L. Wilks
The Duke of Plaza-Toro
Mr. A. Nicholson
The Duchess of Plaza-Toro
Mrs. R. Lill

Henry (Harry) Askew of Chesterfield, on the left in the above photo, was to become the musical director in the 1950s and produced the 1956 "Gondoliers". At the time it was suggested that it was the Society's best production in the post-war decade[2]. Clarice Lill, a newcomer in 1930, was a principal for 25 years and became a life member of the Society[3].

Mr. A. H. Ormen
Mr. G. B. Evans
Mr. J. E. Moreton
Mr. V. Hobbs
Miss Sybil King
Miss Gwen S. Baker
Miss M. Walker

For some reason the Wildgoose's were not reappointed for the following season, which must have been a great personal disappointment. Lubin Wildgoose was asked about it when the news broke and was clearly disenchanted, though did add that he had many other musical interests[4].

Photographs by W. N. Statham of Matlock.In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
If you have any further information about the identity of anyone in the photograph please use the Contact Ann link in the footer below.


[1] "Derbyshire Times," 1 March 1930. A Splendid Performance.
[2] "Derbyshire Times," 13 April, 1958 } from cuttings owned by the web mistress.
[3] "Derbyshire Times," 29 March 1957 }
[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 2 October 1930.