It is now many years since Charles Goulding delighted Gilbert and Sullivan audiences, but those who remember him do so with pleasure, and it is astonishing how many at the mere mention of his name exclaim "Oh, his beautiful voice!"
Born in Ireland, and orphaned in infancy, Charles Goulding was brought up by relatives in Bristol. He had had a distinguished musical career from an early age. He was a choirboy at St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, at the age of eight, and he would recall with pride that he had sung at the Coiston Hall with Dame Clara Butt, Santley, and Saunders at one of the Triennial Festivals.
With this musical training behind him, when he came out of the Army at the end of the Great War he attracted the attention of the D'Oyly Carte management. At that time there were two companies on tour, the Repertory Company, which visited the big cities, and the New Company. It was to the New Company that Charles Goulding went, and it was straight into the leading tenor parts. Four operas were presented each week, and the same towns were visited year after year. It was some time in 1924 that he was transferred to the Repertory Company, subsequently playing in several London seasons and touring abroad.
Charles Goulding was unlucky over gramophone records, and to this day there are many who are disappointed that he never recorded his most well-known songs. Even now there may be some of his fans who do not know that he sang Ralph Rackstraw on the 1920's H.M.V. recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore that was re-issued on a long-play record in 1955, for though his name was listed in the cast on the back of the sleeve it had been omitted from the front. He was also on two of the old 78 records, Ralph Rackstraw again and Cyril in "Princess Ida".
During the seventeen years (1919-1936) he was with the Company he was only absent for a short period - in the autumn of 1934. for when the Company had a season in New York he did not rejoin after the vacation until the Company went to Canada.
During his time with the company he played the parts of Box, Defendant, Alexis, Ralph Rackstraw, Frederic, Duke (Patience), Strephon, Tolloller, Hilarion, Cyril, Nanki-Poo, Richard Dauntless, Colonel Fairfax and Marco.
Charles Goulding is also remembered for his off-stage activities. Often he attended functions of the G. & S. Society; he was one of the golfing members of the D'Oyly Carte Company. and he was a member of the St. Augustine Lodge of Freemasons (3108). After he left the Company he taught singing, and gave a number of G. & S. recitals, and produced one or more amateur companies in G. & S. operas. It was a sad day when death overtook him, but we must remember that - "There is no harm in revelling in the past".
G & S Recordings
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