“Hail the bride of seventeen summers.
In fair phrases hymn her praises.
Lift your song on high, all comers.
She rejoices in your voices.”
Ruddigore or The Witch’s Curse
March 4 to 20, 1983
|Stage Director:||Clare Lillis|
|Music Director:||Timm Rolek|
The History of Ruddigore or The Witch’s Curse
Ruddigore marked Gilbert and Sullivan’s ninth collaboration. Opening in 1887, it closely followed The Mikado, their greatest theatrical success, this making the pair their own worst competition. In fact, on opening night, some of the more vocal members of the audience interrupted the performance by shouting, “Take off this rot!” and “Give us back The Mikado.” Part of the problem was that the show contained material which offended Victorian sensibilities. The worst complaint was that the original title Ruddygore suggested the word “bloody,” and bloody was considered a very indelicate term. Eventually changes were made in the show itself, and the title was altered to Ruddigore. It had a moderately profitable initial run and continues to shine as a sparkling, though rarely seen, gem in the G&S jewel-box.
The plot is nothing more than a burlesque on the heavy-handed melodramatics that plagued mid-nineteenth century English theatre. Gilbert employs a couple of delightfully exaggerated characters to send his satiric barbs: “Mad Margaret” presents a caricature of theatrical madness straight out of too many operatic mad scenes, and Despard, the latest “bad baronet” of Ruddigore, shines as one who, underneath his evil exterior, is a paragon of virtue.
Like it’s twelve siblings, Ruddigore still delights us today, nearly a century after its debut, with the witty fruits of operetta’s most tenuous partnership.
Two excellent internet resources for information about Ruddigore: