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Helen Roberts (b. 1912, Cleethorpesmarker, Lincolnshiremarker) is a retired Englishmarker singer and actress, best known for her performances in soprano roles of the Savoy Operas with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. She married D'Oyly Carte baritone Richard Walker in 1944 and they moved to Australia (Walker died in 1989).

Life and career

Roberts was educated at the Bruton School for Girlsmarker, then studied music first in London and later in Italy. There she appeared on tour with the Milanmarker Opera Company, singing Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale. Returning to England, she appeared on tour as the Doll and Antonia in Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman and was briefly associated with the Glyndebourne Festival Operamarker before joining the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company as principal soprano in 1938.

Roberts initially used the name Betty Roberts, but was asked by Rupert D'Oyly Carte to change it, and she returned to her birth forename. During her decade of performing with the D'Oyly Carte organisation, she appeared regularly as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, the title character in Princess Ida, Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers. Later, she added the role of Phyllis in Iolanthe. She also appeared occasionally as Yum-Yum in The Mikado and the title character in Patience.

On 31 July 1948, Helen and Richard left the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. After a year playing in other theatre in Britain, they were engaged by the J. C. Williamson Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, and toured Australia and New Zealand throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. When the Williamson company played Gilbert and Sullivan, as they did for extended tours every few years, Roberts sang her familiar roles, as well as adding the roles of Plaintiff in Trial by Jury and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore to her repertoire. Roberts and Walker also performed in musical comedies in Australia under other management, including touring for over four years in the original Australian production of My Fair Lady.

Roberts also presented Gilbert and Sullivan with Walker in two-person entertainments throughout the United States and Canada. President Eisenhower asked them to give their concert programme at his pre-inauguration party at the White Housemarker following his re-election in 1956, but they were unable to attend.

After living for many years in Australia, since Richard's death, Helen Roberts Walker is now living in the U.K.

See also

J. C. Williamson


External links

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