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Being evil is hard work. The bad baronets of Ruddigore have, for generations, been cursed to perform daily acts of unspeakable villany or suffer painful death. But the heir vanishes, leaving the terrible family fate to his younger brother, the unwillingly wicked Sir Despard.
Years later, the innocent and naive Rose is adored by the entire male population of her village, but she loves the young farmer, Robin. They are both too shy to admit their feelings. Since none of the men will marry another while they woo Rose, the town's professional bridesmaids are restless and desperate. Then the town discovers that Robin is the missing Ruddigore heir, Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd.
Who is evil? Who is good? Is anyone happy? Won't someone please put the bridesmaids out of their misery?
W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan wrote 14 operas together
between 1871 and 1896, most of which were produced
by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. Gilbert, the duo's
librettist, was an accomplished satirist, and was known
for a series of cartoons and sketches known as the
Bab Ballads. Sullivan, the composer, was often called
the "English Mendelssohn," but his genius
was most evident in the lighter comic songs he wrote
with Gilbert. Sullivan's solo works include the opera Ivanhoe and
the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." Gilbert
and Sullivan's operas were wildly popular in their
time and are still performed regularly today.