Ruddygore (SavoyNet 2006)

8 Aug 2006
Original 1887 Opening Night Version
Direction by ROBERT RAY
Musical Direction by RICHARD STOCKTON
Sets & Costumes Designed by TONY HARRIS
Dances Arranged by ROBERT RAY

A FANTASTIC NEW PRODUCTION

RUDDYGORE at the Buxton International Festival promises to be very special. Special certainly for SavoyNet as this will be their first production which will have original sets and costumes, specially designed for it by leading operatic designer TONY HARRIS. The opera will be presented with the same text and music as the Opening Night on January 22 1887, before the drastic cuts. The definitive OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS edition by renowned Sullivan scholar DAVID RUSSELL HULME will be conducted by RICHARD STOCKTON, well known to SavoyNet and Buxton audiences. Director and choreographer ROBERT RAY comes to Buxton for the first time, with a wealth of experience in directing and choreographing opera. While firmly based within the Savoy Tradition, this new production seeks to re-examine the original version, and the opera generally with a fresh and innovative approach. The Cast is exceptionally talented with many favourite SavoyNet artists, including Ian Henderson, Rich Miller, Jonathan Ichikawa, Vikki Willoughby, William Revels, David Lovell as well as new comers Sian Jones, Andrea Tappe, Rachel Middle, Sarah O'Sullivan and John Fisher.

WHY THE ORIGINAL VERSION?

It is generally thought by many that Ruddygore's main fault was that it came after the wildly successful and popular The Mikado. Apart from it being entirely different to its predecessor, it was felt that its arrival had shortened The Mikado's run. There are other theories as well. Is the mocking of Rose's sense of etiquette an attack on Christian values? Is her Book of Etiquette the Bible? Was its target - melodrama - still understood? Gilbert did take many of the stock characters from melodrama, and in his topsy-turvy way, the good became evil, and vice versa. Was the joke understood? Then there is the problematic Second Act, and that loved or loathed Ghost Music.

Gilbert and Sullivan reacted swiftly to popular opinion, and made changes after Opening Night, as Gilbert would do even more dramatically (and most say disastrously after the Opening Night of The Grand Duke later in 1896). For the 1920 revival even greater changes were made, and it is that version which is still mainly performed today.

However, many companies have re-staged the opera based on the original night version, mainly led by New Sadler’s Wells in 1987. The Gilbert & Sullivan Company performed most of the original version at Buxton in 2004. As an international band of aficionados, devoted to the analysis and critical opinion of these works, it is natural that SavoyNet should now have a go.

Let us have fun, and sit there in the performance and judge how we would re-act if we had been there in 1887. “Oh that doesn't work at all. They were quite right to cut THAT!” Or “Gosh, this now makes so much more sense with all the missing bits returned.”

There is no intention of returning to Gilbert’s original prompt books to re-produce the staging of that first night. In fact, there will be some things that certainly DIDN'T happen on that stage. But, what will be there are all the words and music, as much as we know to be the case, which were performed on that night. The challenge is to defy the historical judgement. Turn it around. We may not make it, but let’s have fun trying.

Robert Ray

MORTALS

Robin Oakapple JONATHAN ICHIKAWA
Richard Dauntless RICHARD MILLER
Sir Despard Murgatroyd IAN HENDERSON
Old Adam Goodheart DAVID DUFFEY
Rose Maybud SIAN JONES
Mad Margaret ANDREA TAPPE
Dame Hannah VICTORIA WILLOUGHBY
Zorah RACHEL MIDDLE
Ruth SARAH O’SULLIVAN

GHOSTS

Sir Rupert Murgatroyd DAVID LOVELL
Sir Jasper Murgatrroyd ERIC PETERSON
Sir Lionel Murgatroyd KELSEY THORNTON
Sir Conrad Murgatroyd PHILIP BARTON
Sir Desmond Murgatroyd JOHN PENN
Sir Gilbert Murgatroyd STUART BOX
Sir Melvyn Murgatroyd MICHAEL NASH
Sir Roderic Murgatroyd WILLIAM REVELS

Professional Bridesmaids: Angie Arnell, Linda Briggs, Carol Davis, Jo Dunbar, Wendy Falconer, Lorna Hansen, Deborah Jacobson, Claire Little, Karen Ann Loxley, Astrid Marchal, Lauren Miller, Sarah-Jane Read, Sue Sims-Hancock,, Sarah Vamplew, Denise Wicken

Officers/Ancestors: Philip Barton, Stuart Box, Stuart Bull, David Fidler, Christopher Hall, David Lovell, Michael Nash, John Penn, Richard Pennicard, Eric Peterson, Christopher Reidy, William Revels, Nick Revels, John Sabberton, Kelsey Thornton, Christopher Wain.

Little Chimney Sweep: George Miller

Assistant to the Director STUART BOX
Ballet Mistresses LORNA HANSEN & SARAH-JANE READ
Stage Manager KEITH DRAGE
Assistant Stage Manager DONALD SMITH
Wardrobe Supervisors KATHRYN BARTON & CLAIRE LITTLE
Treasurer PHILIP BARTON
Special Ghost Lighting by BRIAN TAYLOR

‘MUSICAL SOLUTIONS’ is the PROUD TITLE SPONSOR of this PRODUCTION

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