Although Ruddigore’s 1887 premiere did not enjoy the same success as its predecessor, The Mikado (1885), it is now regarded as one of the gems of the Gilbert and Sullivan canon. A satirical take on the Victorian Melodrama genre, Ruddigore’s zany plot has it all--ghosts, witches, curses, disguises, and even a wicked villain who tries to make off with the fair maiden. All of the Baronets of the locale of Ruddigore are under a terrible curse enacted by a witch long ago--each of the successive Baronets must commit some kind of a crime every single day, or else they will die in terrible agony. Robin Oakapple has been living as a farmer for years, working up the courage to ask the beautiful village maiden Rose Maybud for her hand, but he is hiding a secret--he is actually Sir Ruthven, the Baronet of Ruddigore, and has been hiding in disguise while his younger brother Despard assumed the title--and the curse. Betrayed by his foster-brother Richard, Robin is discovered and must take on the responsibility of committing a crime every day in order to appease the curse--and the ghosts of all his ancestors past, who are none too happy with his attempt to shirk his title. Robin must somehow find a way to lead the honest life he loves--but how? Ruddigore is an ensemble tour de force with a wealth of fun character roles.
Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse guide sections