The following is an article from a Manchester newspaper from 1938. It is one of several cutting which were between the discs of some albums of electrical era G&S recordings (most of the other cuttings appear to date from the 1950's and are not as immediately interesting as this one). The precise date cannot be readily ascertained, however the year can be identified from a reference to the forthcoming state visit of King Carol of Rumania on the other side of the cutting.
N.B. The orthography follows that of the original cutting.
Darrel (sic) Fancourt is, I suppose, the only English singer who has been in work without a break for nearly 19 years. He is certainly the only man in opera who has sungin publicthe works of only one composer for anything like that time
This is what Gilbert and Sullivan leads to if you are a successcomplete devotion to one set of parts and isolation from the rest of the musical world.
"I love it," he said with a laugh, "but I keep my voice supple. You see, my work for all those years has been Sullivan's staccato singing. There is hardly any legato. That leads people to say Savoy opera spoils the voice. It need not do so. I have my remedy. That is keeping a private repertoire of 150 songs not by Sullivan. I could go on the platform and sing them now."
But I think there is more to it than thatMr. Fancourt's training among other things. His father gave famous musical receptions in London and Mr. Fancourt cannot remember when he first met men like Sir Henry Wood. He was too young!
A musical career was inevitable, but his father said: "I shall not consent unless you get Randegger, of London, Jacques Bouhy, of Paris, and Lilli Lehman, of Berlin, to say it is worth while."
These were three of the greatest teachers of the time, Randegger gave him a visa; the next thing was to conquer the Lehman.
Young Fancourt found her garden gate padlocked. It was opened by a rude servant"very like Wilfred Shadbolt"after which Frau Lehman's sister barked at him on the steps. "What do you want? Lilli! There's a man here says he has an appointment."
"It may be so," said a voiceand Fancourt was ushered into the august presence. "The money!" she said peremptorily. He handed over the equivalent of £5. "Sing," she said. "No, Fifi (her dog) is without his cushion. Halt!" At last he sang. "Come for your first lesson next Friday," she said. "I cannot pay £5 at time," he protested. "Come on Friday" she snapped.
"And for two years," said Mr. Fancourt, "I was her pupil and never paid another penny! I should never have left Germany if it had not been for the war. Besides Lehman was launching me. She said (and I commend this to all young singers): 'If you want to keep your voice unimpaired after 45 you must study for at least five years. Even that is not enough. Study on your own for the rest of your life, and, if your health holds, there is no reason why you should not sing at 70.'"