Jillian was perhaps fortunate that SOS concentrated solely on opera and operetta during the two decades of her membership but it cannot be denied that the Society was really lucky that it had her to take so many of the leading soprano roles – her strong, tuneful voice mixed with her mischievous and flirtatious acting were the perfect combination! It would have been interesting to see her perform in musicals as well, she surely would have excelled in that genre too.
Not only was Jill an answer to a Directing Team’s prayers, she was also very popular with the Business Manager and Treasurer as she was particularly adept at selling tickets.
Her appearances and roles for the Society are as follows:
- 1969 – Princess Ida (Chorus)
- 1970 – Utopia Limited (Chorus)
- 1971 – HMS Pinafore (Chorus)
- 1972 – The Mikado (Yum-Yum)
- 1973 – Ruddigore (Rose Maybud)
- 1974 – Orpheus in the Underworld (Cupid)
- 1975 – The Yeomen of the Guard (Elsie Maynard)
- 1976 – The Sorcerer (Constance)
- 1977 – The Gondoliers (Gianetta)
- 1978 – Carmen (Frasquita)
- 1979 – The Pirates of Penzance (Mabel)
- 1980 – Iolanthe (Phyllis)
- 1980 – HMS Pinafore (Chorus)
- 1981 – La Vie Parisienne (Gabrielle)
- 1981 – Ruddigore (Rose Maybud)
- 1982 – Patience (Lady Saphir)
- 1983 – The Mikado (Pitti-Sing)
- 1983 – Der Mikado (Pitti-Sing)
- 1984 – Trial by Jury (Public)
- 1984 – The Zoo (Laetitia)
- 1984 – Princess Ida (Princess Ida)
- 1985 – Die Fledermaus (Adele)
- 1986 – The Gondoliers (Casilda)
- 1986 – The Sorcerer (Aline)
- 1987 – Orpheus in the Underworld (Diana)
- 1988 – The Pirates of Penzance (Chorus)
- 1989 – The Mikado (Chorus)
- 1989 – L’Elisir d’Amore (Adina)
- 1990 – The Yeomen of the Guard (Elsie Maynard)
Samples of reviews of her performances can be found below and it is worth noting that the headline for the critique of the 1972 production of The Mikado was “Yum-Yum is Delicious!’
- 1972: Jillian Charnley, with excellent voice, is a delicious Yum-Yum
- 1973: Jillian Charnley belies her diminutive size with a voice of power and clarity. 1975: As Elsie, the strolling singer, Jillian Charnley, delighted with her strong, clear and well-focused soprano voice
- 1980: Jill Charnley was outstanding as Phyllis, the Arcadian Shepherdess with a lively personality and assured vocal technique.
- 1983: Yum-Yum’s two graceful sisters, Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo (Jillian Charnley and Daphne Shaw), fluttered through the scenery like butterflies and really brought their parts to life.
- 1984: In the title role, Jillian Charnley was in excellent vocal form and gave a confident portrayal.
- 1989: Jillian Charnley sang a mischievous Adina
- 1990: As always, Jillian Charnley was excellent as the enchanting Elsie Maynard.
Fortunately, SOS began to have its shows videoed towards the end of the1980s so we can still enjoy Jill’s singing today – three clips from her final show (featuring her as Elsie Maynard) can be seen by clicking below…