Francis Clive Savill Carey (known as Clive) was born at Sible Hedingham on 30 May 1883. He came from an artistically talented family, and was a Chorister in the choir at King's College before attended Sherborne school. He came up to Clare College as an Organ Scholar in 1901, and combined his undergraduate work with the Grove Scholarship in Composition at the Royal College of Music in London. He became friends with Edward Dent, Alwyn Scholfield and Percy Lubbock during his student days, and was involved in the University Greek Plays organised by Walter Durnford and other student productions. Later Carey studied with Jean de Reszke in Paris and Nice. In 1911 Carey directed and sang as Papageno in the Cambridge production of Mozart's opera 'Die Zauberflöte' when Edward J. Dent's English translation was first used.
During the First World War, Carey served as a ward orderly in the Medical Corps in France, and various other non-combatant roles. Between 1920 and 1924 he was employed as a singer and director of operas at the Old Vic opera company, until in 1924, disappointed with his lack of apparent progress in English professional music, he accepted a teaching post at the Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide University. He sang in several of Dame Nellie Melba's farewell concerts in 1927, and left Australia to tour North America. He returned to London in 1928 and resumed his usual life of teaching at the Royal College of Music, lecturing and giving recitals on English Folk Song. In 1929 he married Doris.
In the 1930s, following the merge of the Old Vic and Sadlers Wells theatres, Carey worked for the company directing, producing and singing in operas. He and Doris were on a personal visit to Australia when war broke out in 1939, and they stayed there for the duration of the war, Carey teaching and performing in recitals. On their return in 1945 he took up a short-term post as Director of Opera at Sadlers Wells. From then until his death in 1968 he continued to live in London, teaching singing pupils.
Elizabeth Forbes in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (www.grovemusic.com, 2004) describes Carey as follows: 'A stylish performer, particularly of Mozart roles, and an accomplished actor, he was an imaginative director, much concerned with the elimination of accumulated tradition and returning to composers' intentions, and a fine teacher.'
The collection comprises mainly correspondence between Carey and Edward Dent, Percy Lubbock and Alwyn Scholfield, with papers and photographs relating to the University Greek Plays in the early years of the 20th century.
The papers are believed to have been given to the College after Clive Carey's death, due to the large number of letters from Edward Dent contained within the collection.
For further information about Clive Carey, see:
- Carey, Hugh: 'Duet for two voices: An informal biography of Edward Dent compiled from his letters to Clive Carey';
- Forbes, Elizabeth: '(Francis) Clive (Savill) Carey' in www.grovemusic.com, 2004.