Just got around to posting a review of Opera North’s 2011 revival of last year’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore.
This was actually the first Gilbert and Sullivan I’d seen, and I must say I was much impressed! The story is pretty complicated but involves a cursed family whose Baron at the time has to commit a crime a day, and of course the Baron has difficulty finding a wife!
From the Opera North web site: Sir Despard Murgatroyd is a man under pressure. He has inherited a witch’s curse forcing him to commit a crime a day or die in agony. So it’s a huge relief when shy Robin Oakapple is revealed as his long-lost elder brother – true inheritor of the curse. Robin’s chances with the prim Rose Maybud look doomed, but his troubles really start when his feeble crimes drag his exasperated ancestors back from the dead.
The story had been slightly updated from the Victorian setting to the 1920s and it worked very well. The cast were excellent, the orchestra as always superb and it was conducted by the superb John Wilson. The setting was simple at times but very complicated at others; the portrait scene being a a good example. In the Bad Baron’s study are portraits of his predecessors. At a time when the rather mild Bad Baron was making a note of his pretty pathetic attempts at crime, the pictures come to life and members of the chorus join him as ghosts.
This is really the part where the operetta gets going and is wonderfully entertaining and funny for the rest of it, the first half really being a scene setting period.
If this is the wonderfully lavish standard that Opera North is going to produce operettas in the future, I don’t think this will be my last one!!