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Cover to the New Sadlers' Wells RecordingRuddigore

or The Witch's Curse

Music by Arthur Sullivan: Lyrics and Libretto by W.S. Gilbert

Savoy Theatre, London - 22 January, 1887
Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York - 21 February, 1887

The Story

(The village of Rederring in Cornwall; early in the 19th century)

To avoid inheriting the family curse, whereby the baronet of Ruddigore has to commit a daily crime or else die an agonising death, Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd has fled the ancestral home and, disguised as Robin Oakapple, settled in Rederring. Here he has fallen in love with Rose Maybud but, being too shy to develop the relationship himself, he calls upon Richard Dauntless to court Rose for him. Overcome by Rose's beauty, Richard sets about capturing her for himself and nearly succeeds in doing so until Robin finally declares his love for her and wins her back. However, when it is revealed that Robin is none other than the true baronet of Ruddigore, and as such the rightful inheritor of the curse, Robin finds that wickedness does not come naturally to him. Sir Roderic, Robin's immediate predecessor who died for refusing to commit the daily crime, suggests that he mend his ways by carrying off a lady from the village. Robin's initial reluctance is quickly overcome when the ghosts give him a taste of the torments to come if he refuses, and Dame Hannah is duly abducted. She is furious at her treatment and becomes so violent towards Robin that he has to call upon Sir Roderic for protection. Answering his call for help Sir Roderic is amazed to come face to face with the woman to whom he had once been engaged. In a flash of inspiration, an idea occurs to Robin; a baronet of Ruddigore who refuses to commit the daily crime must die and, therefore, to make such a refusal is tantamount to suicide; this is a crime in itself. Consequently, Sir Roderic should never have died and the curse should not have been handed on. Sir Roderic is now free to marry Dame Hannah and Robin can reclaim Rose.

Principal Characters

(plus Chorus)

Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd (disguised as Robin Oakapple, A Young Farmer)
Richard Dauntless (his Foster-Brother - a Man-O'War's-Man)
Sir Roderic Murgatroyd (the Twenty-First Baronet)
Sir Despard Murgatroyd (of Ruddigore - a Wicked Baronet)
Old Adam Goodheart (Robin's Faithful Servant)
Rose Maybud (a Village Maiden)
Dame Hannah (Rose's Aunt)
Mad Margaret
Dame Hannah, Rose's Aunt
Zorah, Ruth, Bridesmaids
Sir Rupert, Sir Jasper, Sir Lionel, Sir Conrad, Sir Desmond, Sir Gilbert, Sir Mervyn, Sir Roderic, former Lords of Ruddigore

Musical Numbers

  1. Overture
  2. Fair is Rose as bright May day (Bridesmaids, Zorah)
  3. Sir Rupert Murgatroyd (Hannah, Chorus)
  4. If somebody there chanced to be (Rose)
  5. I know a youth who loves a little maid (Rose, Robin)
  6. From the briny sea (Bridesmaids)
  7. I shipped, d'ye see, in a Revenue sloop (Richard)
  8. My boy, you may take it from me (Robin)
  9. The battle's roar is over (Richard, Rose)
  10. In sailing o'er life's ocean wide (Rose, Richard, Robin)
  11. Cheerily carols the lark (Margaret)
  12. To a garden full of posies (Margaret)
  13. Welcome gentry for your entry (Chorus)
  14. Oh, why am I moody and sad? (Sir Despard, Chorus)
  15. You understand? (Richard, Sir Despard)
  1. Hail the bride of seventeen summers (Chorus)
  2. When the buds are blossoming (Rose, Hannah, Richard, Adam, Chorus)
  3. Hold, bride and bridegroom (Sir Despard, Rose, Robin, Zorah, Richard, Margaret, Chorus)
  4. Oh, happy the lily (All)
  5. I once was as meek as a new-born lamb (Robin, Adam)
  6. Happily coupled are we (Richard, Rose)
  7. In bygone days I had thy love (Rose, Robin, Richard, Bridesmaids)
  8. Painted emblems of a race (Ancestors, Roderic, Robin)
  9. When the night wind howls (Roderic, Ancestors)
  10. He yields! He yields (Ancestors, Robin)
  11. I once was a very abandoned person (Sir Despard, Margaret)
  12. My eyes are fully open (Robin, Margaret, Sir Despard)
  13. There grew a little flower (Hannah, Roderic)
  14. Oh, happy the lily (All)


(Total number of books = 21)

3 Violins I, 3 Violins II, 2 Violas, 2 Cellos, 1 Double Bass, 1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Clarinet, 1 Horn, 1 Trumpet, 1 Trombone, 1 Timpani, 1 Percussion, 1 Piano (optional - annotated vocal score), 1 Full score


New Sadlers Wells Opera with Marilyn Hill Smith - TER CDTER2 1128