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The Jersey Gilbert and Sullivan Society




Ruddigore; or, The Witch's Curse


Ruddigore; 2014 Production

Ruddigore; 2006 Production

Ruddigore; Wiki article


Trouperslightopera Ruddigore link here


The Music of Ruddigore; an article from Troupers Light Opera


Ruddigore contains some of Sullivan's loveliest music. In particular, note the Act I finale madrigal "When the buds are blossoming," and Roderic and Hannah's second act duet, "There grew a little flower." Of course, the powerful music Sullivan wrote for the chorus of ancestors in Act II, along with "When the night wind howls" are well-known examples of thrilling writing. But should also listen to the clever counterpoint in the double chorus "Welcome gentry."

While musical parody moments in Ruddigore are fewer than in other shows, where Verdian send-ups abound, you might recognize that the 6/8 Ruddigore D-minor theme that starts both acts is perilously similar to Wagner's Overture to Die Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman), which has a slightly similar supernatural plot. Further the boiling-over brasses in the ghost entrance in "Painted Emblems of a Race," sounds much like a number of passages in Wagner's Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung, which Sullivan was surely aware of.

The famous patter song, "My Eyes are Fully Open" (the matter-patter song) is of course, from Ruddigore. You might also have run into this song in the Joseph Papp Broadway version of Pirates of Penzance, where he interpolated it.

The original overture for Ruddigore was composed by Sullivan's Assistant, Hamilton Clarke, and used themes from the second act finale, "When a man has been a naughty baronet." When Geoffrey Toye revised the Ruddigore score for the 1920 revival, he cut the imaginative second act finale and replaced with with a short reprise of "O Happy the lily" from the first act finale. Then he wrote a new overture based primarily on "When the Night Wind Howls" and "My Eyes Are Fully Open." Many musicians prefer this new finale regardless of what other cuts they may observe or restore.


Richard's Song -" I shipped d'ye see in a revenue sloop"

This song has caused any amount of confusion in both audiences and diplomatic circles. It seems to be saying that Richard's ship ran off the cowardly French, and he is bragging about how wonderful the jolly British tars are. In fact, the song actually portrays British stupidity, cowardice and rationalization. Richard's "Revenue sloop," a very small vessel, thought it had an easy mark when it encountered what it thought was a rich merchant ship. But in fact they were unable to tell a French man-of-war (frigate) from a merchant ship until they were fired upon. Being completely outgunned, the British sloop fled, explaining that conquering these sissy Frenchmen would be "a lubberly thing to do."


with thanks to Trouperslightopera.org for the above information