Chapter

1885–1887 Ruddigore

Michael Ainger

in Gilbert and Sullivan

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195147698
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849437 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195147698.003.0021
1885–1887 Ruddigore

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In a letter to Alfred Watson, William Gilbert suggested that the ghost music was “out of place in a comic opera. It is as though one inserted fifty lines of Paradise Lost into a farcical comedy.” Reacting to criticism, Gilbert changed the spelling of the title to Ruddigore. The impression of failure with Ruddigore dogged Gilbert, even though in his heart he did not believe it. Its comparison with The Mikado, the onslaught of adverse criticism, his discomfiture with some of Arthur Sullivan's music, and his recognition that the second act as originally performed had serious weaknesses all contributed to the feeling of failure. It was nothing of the sort, despite the difficulties, but it was hard to lay that particular ghost to rest. In later years, Gilbert made several attempts to have Ruddigore revived, but was unsuccessful. It was left for later generations to enjoy.

Keywords: Alfred Watson; William Gilbert; ghost music; comic opera; Ruddigore; The Mikado; Arthur Sullivan

Chapter.  7537 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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