Joyce Wright (born 23 June 1922) is an English singer and actress, best known for her performances in the mezzo-soprano roles of the Savoy Operas with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. She was married for a time to another D'Oyly Carte performer, Peter Pratt.
Life and career
Joyce Wright was born in Leicester, England. She grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where she was educated at Bearsden Academy and received musical training from the age of eight. When she and her family returned to the Midlands, she won several prizes at the Midlands' Musical Festivals and sang in various choirs under the direction of Sir Malcolm Sargent and Ernest Nash. She also performed in amateur theatricals, including with the Glasgow Players. Wright also played the piano professionally for a dance orchestra.
Wright joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorus in June 1947. Soon thereafter, she began to play the roles of Leila in Iolanthe and Peep-Bo in The Mikado, and filled in on occasion as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance and Lady Saphir in Patience. In 1948, she added a number of small roles and filled in briefly as Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore, Edith in Pirates, Phoebe Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Tessa in The Gondoliers. She continued to play her small roles and to substitute in these larger roles, also filling in as Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, until 1951.
In 1951, Wright became the company's principal soubrette, playing Hebe, Edith, Lady Angela in Patience, the title role in Iolanthe, Pitti-Sing, Mad Margaret in Ruddigore, Phoebe, and Tessa. She played these roles, (except that Lady Angela was played by Beryl Dixon for several years), for the next eleven seasons.
Wright left the D'Oyly Carte organisation in 1962. After leaving the Company, she appeared in Yeomen in the 1962 Festival of the City of London at the Tower of London. She also did some work in BBC television and produced Gilbert and Sullivan for amateur companies throughout England.
Her recordings with D'Oyly Carte included Kate (1949 Pirates), Giulia (1950 Gondoliers), Peep-Bo (1950 Mikado), Hebe (1960 Pinafore), and Tessa (1961 Gondoliers). She also sang Peep-Bo in a 1951 BBC broadcast of The Mikado and Tessa in a BBC Gondoliers in 1958 or 1959.
- Ayre, Leslie (1972). The Gilbert & Sullivan Companion. London: W.H. Allen & Co Ltd. Introduction by Martyn Green.
- Joyce Wright at Who Was Who in the D'Oyly Carte
- Profile of Wright
- Photo of Wright in Iolanthe
- Wright as Edith in televised scenes from Pirates, D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, 1955