->''Each lord of Ruddigore,''\\
''Despite his best endeavour,''\\
''Shall do one crime, or more,''\\
''Once, every day, for ever!''\\
''This doom he can't defy,''\\
''However he may try,''\\
''For should he stay''\\
''His hand, that day''\\
''In torture he shall die!''
-->-- '''Dame Hannah''', Act I

'''''Ruddigore, [[EitherOrTitle or]] The Witch's Curse''''', described by its author as "An Entirely Original Supernatural Opera in Two Acts," was the 10th of the "Savoy operas" produced by Creator/GilbertAndSullivan. ''Ruddigore'' is a parody of the so-called "Transpontine[[labelnote:Latin]]''trans pontem,'' "across the bridge"[[/labelnote]] melodramas" of the early 19th century[[note]]such as ''East Lynne, or The Earl's Daughter''; ''Maria Marten, or The Murder in the The Red Barn''; ''The Face At The Window''; ''Sweeny Todd, or The Demon Barber of Fleet Street''; and ''Crimes At The Dark House''[[/note]], which were performed at theatres south of the Thames -- including their [[PurpleProse high-flown]] and [[YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe archaic]] language, the extravagances of their plots, and their recurring StockCharacters: [[TheIngenue the innocent orphaned Village Maiden]], the poor-but-honest Yeoman Hero, the [[DastardlyWhiplash sneering, snarling]] [[AristocratsAreEvil Bad Baronet]], the Honest Sailor, the [[OldRetainer Good Old Servant]], the Fallen Woman Driven Mad By A Dark Secret, and, of course, the [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Ghost]] -- in this case, a whole [[SpookyPainting Gallery]] of Ghosts.

Critical reception of the piece was decidedly cooler than that of the preceding operas. Hisses were heard at the initial performance on January 21, 1887; some critics commented unfavourably on the staleness of Gilbert's criticism of melodramatic conventions and "dancing Quakers"[[note]]a reference to Sir Despard and Mad Margaret's dance in the second act -- which was, however, praised for its drollery by other critics, though even those were inclined to give the credit to the performers, Rutland Barrington and Jessie Bond[[/note]], some thought Sullivan's music far too heavy and serious for the ghostly capers of "the dead of the night's high noon" (a view privately shared by Gilbert himself) -- even the costumes, on which Gilbert and impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte had taken great pains, were criticized for inaccuracy. [[note]]For instance, Sir Despard's hat would "surely have been made of beaver or otter, rather than glossy silk."(!)[[/note]]

Further, controversies which seem ridiculous to moderns, and were dubious even in VictorianLondon, attached themselves to the piece. The original title was ''Rudd'''y'''gore''; an extraordinary qualm was raised because "ruddy" was used as a euphemism for "bloody" -- and "'bloody' was a dirty word!" (This led Gilbert to quip later, "we were within an ace of changing it from ''Ruddygore'' to ''Kensington Gore, or Robin and Richard were two Pretty Men''." (Another possible subtitle was ''Not-Half-So-Good-As-The-Mikado'') Another quip Gilbert made regarding this claim was that "Then I suppose if I say I admire your ruddy complexion, it's the same as saying I like your bloody cheek! Well, it isn't - and I don't!"). Still more bizarre was the controversy stirred up by the London correspondent of ''Le Figaro'', a Frenchman with the unconvincing name of T. Johnson, who accused the duo of insulting the Republic with Richard Dauntless's song of the "Poor Parley-voo" -- a song which tells of [[CompletelyMissingThePoint the flight of a British sloop from the formidable guns of a French man-o'-war!]] The pair responded with a flowery letter to ''Le Figaro'', disclaiming any intention of deriding ''[[GratuitousFrench la Marine d'une nation aussi brave que chevaleresque]]''[[labelnote:English]]"The navy of so brave and chivalrous a nation"[[/labelnote]] and pointing out that French farces regularly used such terms as "'' 'Rosbif' et 'Goddam' ''" to refer to British soldiers. Another strange qualm affected the conduct of the piece itself, when Victorian audiences showed themselves squeamish over the PairTheSpares ending which involved the "professional bridesmaids" partnering with the long-dead-but-newly-revivified ghosts of ''all'' of Robin's ancestors -- so the ending was altered to resurrect only Sir Roderick and to bring back the "Bucks and Blades" of Act I to make up the numbers.

The opera was not revived by the Savoyards until 1920, when it was played in a shortened and altered version, with an entirely new overture by Geoffrey Toye. More recent productions have more or less restored Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's original (sometimes reversing even alterations made by the duo themselves).

An AnimatedAdaptation of the opera by British animation company Halas and Batchelor appeared in 1966. There have been three Live Action Television adaptations, in 1972, 1982, and 2005; the 1982 version featured VincentPrice as Sir Despard. ''Ruddigore'' is also the focus of the Literature/PhryneFisher novel ''Ruddy Gore''.

!!Tropes Associated With ''Ruddigore'' Include:

* AbhorrentAdmirer: This is what Dame Hannah thinks Sir Ruthven is
* AllThereInTheScript: Some characters are given names for no apparent reason, which appear only in the ''dramatis personae''. Of course, that's when the character appears in the script ''at all''; for instance, ''Ruddigore'' has a long list of named ghosts in the ''dramatis personae''. The script itself refers only to Roderick by name (Sir Rupert is mentioned in dialogue, but never pointed out as a specific ghost when he appears), and list the others as "1st ghost," "2nd ghost," and so on. The numbers never get high enough to include half the ghosts listed; the rest are presumably just ordinary choristers. The "professional bridesmaid" Ruth is also never named in the script.
* AristocratsAreEvil: "All baronets are bad…," we are told.
* BetaCouple: Despard and Margaret, Sir Roderick and Dame Hannah, Richard and Zorah.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Dame Hannah, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome near the end of Act II]].
* BigBookOfWar: Rose Maybud was raised from birth by a "little book of etiquette," the contents of which are never known except that Rose herself is an expert in all matters of propriety as a result.
* [[{{Bowdlerise}} Bowdlerization]]: Amazingly enough, played straight in ''Ruddigore'', which had its very title changed due to the apparent offensiveness of the original title, ''Ruddygore'' (since "ruddy" means "bloody," which was apparently the F-Bomb (B-Bomb?) of the 19th and early 20th century in Britain -- as in [[Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw Shaw's]] ''Theatre/{{Pygmalion}}''.) Gilbert found this just as absurd as anyone, and suggested re-titling it ''Kensington Gore, or, Not So Good As ''The Mikado.[[note]] According to ''Martyn Green's Treasury of Gilbert and Sullivan'' this led to an exchange between the (gruff but witty) Gilbert and a stranger at a party: "How's ''Bloodygore'' going?" "Ruddigore!" "Oh, well, it's the same thing, you know." "Is it? Then I suppose that if I say I admire your ruddy complexion, it's the same as saying I like your bloody cheek! Well, it isn't -- and I don't!"[[/note]]
** Also, all the ghosts coming back to life to marry the professional bridesmaids was deemed too shocking, so Sir Despard's former retinue returns [[AssPull for no apparent reason]] and marries them instead. (Though they seemed to be able to get away with ''one'' resurrection.)
*** Possibly because Sir Roderick had died recently enough that it seemed reasonable that he should still be alive, if he had not been killed, whereas the idea of, say, Zorah, paired off with a [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld 300-year-old]] Sir Rupert was just too [[{{Squick}} squicky]]. Yeah, the Victorians were [[ValuesDissonance odd]].
* BurnTheWitch: How Sir Rupert Murgatroyd got his line into the mess he did.
* CatchPhrase: Basingstoke it is! Also, every appearance of the Bridesmaids in Act I is punctuated by outbursts of "Hail the bridegroom! hail the bride!"
* CloudCuckooLander: Mad Margaret
* CompletelyMissingThePoint: Richard Dauntless's "I shipped d'ye see" sent French newspapers into such an uproar over the perceived attack on the French that Sullivan was never able to get his works performed in Paris from then on. The song is actually about a British sailor talking about his mates' kindness when their sloop ''turned tail and fled'' from a formidable French frigate, which ''of course'' they could have taken on... but... um... decided not to, just now. Because fighting them would be mean. Yeah, that's it.
** Rose Maybud follows etiquette to an excruciating degree, but doesn't seem to understand that the point of etiquette is to keep everyone comfortable. For further details refer to her song, "If somebody there chanced to be."
*** Note that Rose's dependence on her book of etiquette is itself a parody of the [[ForgottenTrope melodramatic trope]] of a character left a [[Literature/TheBible Bible]] by a dead parent and regarding it as a moral guide to be obeyed to the letter. This ''may'' be Gilbert's extremely subtle TakeThat at the Nonconformists in Britain who were noted both for their Biblical literalism and for their opposition to the theatre.
* ComplimentBackfire: "You are Rose Maybud? … Strange -- they told me she was beautiful."
* ConvenienceStoreGiftShopping: Rose makes her entrance carrying a basket of gifts, she intends to distribute in a highly inappropriate manner.
* CrowdSong: All the choruses, which evokes some classic LampshadeHanging from Mad Margaret, who comments, "They sing choruses in public! That's mad enough, I think."
* {{Curse}}: The catalyst of the whole plot.
* CutSong: There are two versions of Robin's second-act patter song (not the trio); neither commonly used. A few D'Oyly Carte revivals in the 20th century also used to cut Rose's part in "Happily coupled are we."
* DamnedByFaintPraise: Used by Robin to reveal Richard's bad character to Rose.
* DastardlyWhiplash: The Murgatroyd family of ''Ruddigore'', especially Sir Ruthven, parody this character, which was still played straight in the "Transpontine" theatres of the time.)
* TheDeadCanDance: "When the Night Wind Howls"
* DeadpanSnarker: When asked casually by a theatre-goer how "''Bloodygore''" (''see'' {{Bowdlerization}}, ''above'') was doing, Gilbert replied, "The name is ''Ruddigore''." "Well, it's the same thing, what?" said the man, to which Gilbert replied, "Then I suppose that if I say, 'I admire your ruddy countenance,' it's the same thing as, 'I like your bloody cheek.' Well, it ''isn't'' -- and ''I '''don't'''!''
* DesignatedVillain: InUniverse, the Bad Baronets of Ruddigore, who are obligated by the family curse to commit one evil deed each day, or else die in agony.
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Mad Margaret is often played this way.
* EitherOrTitle: Or, the Witch's Curse.
* EvilCostumeSwitch: At the start of the second act (in productions that don't bump it up to the first act curtain), Robin Oakapple reappears in full DastardlyWhiplash costume, often wearing a cape and generally flourishing a riding crop. Old Adam also tends to develop [[TheIgor a hunch]] in some productions.
* EvilMakesYouUgly: "When in crime one is fully employed, your expression gets warped and destroyed." (Source of that trope's Page Quote.)
* EvilSoundsDeep: Sir Roderick.
* EvilSoundsRaspy: Lampshaded in Sir Despard's Villain's Lament.
-->'''Sir Despard''': Oh why am I husky and hoarse?\\
'''Chorus''': Ah, why?\\
'''Sir Despard''': It's the workings of conscience, of course.\\
'''Chorus''': Fie, fie!\\
'''Sir Despard''': And huskiness stands for remorse.\\
'''Chorus''': Oh, my!\\
'''Sir Despard''': At least it does so in my case!
* {{Flanderization}}: The original Mad Margret, Jessie Bond from the 1887 production, was a very sympathetic young woman driven almost but not quite to the point of madness. It wasn't until revivals in the 1920s that she became the raving lunatic she is frequently played as now.
* {{Fainting}}: Happens to Robin Oakapple at the end of Act I.
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: Used in Toye's replacement overture, ''sometimes''.
* GetTheeToANunnery: ''Ruddigore'' was considered a very naughty name at the time — "ruddy" and "gore" are two synonyms for "bloody", a cussword that was more offensive even than "dammee," apparently.
* GhostSong: "Painted Emblems of a Race" and "When the Night Wind Howls (Sir Roderick's Song)", during which [[TheDeadCanDance the ghosts get down]].
* GoodHairEvilHair: Generally after Robin turns evil, he appears with slicked down hair and occasionally a pair of side-whiskers he didn't wear before. Likewise, Despard's hair will often be more flowing in the second act, and he may drop the mustache. At least one production had Despard physically handing his mustache to Robin/Ruthven at the end of the first act.
* TheIgor: After Robin Oakapple is transformed into DastardlyWhiplash-type Sir Ruthven, his servant, Adam Goodheart ([-AKA-] "Gideon Crawle"), spontaneously acquires a hump.
* IncessantChorus: The bridesmaids keep on bursting into their chorus ("Hail the Bridegroom -- hail the Bride!") until Robin angrily orders them to leave.
* TheIngenue: "Sweet" Rose Maybud is a parody of the type, although it turns out she is rather more artful than she lets on.
* IHaveNoSon: Inverted and played for laughs. Robin tries to [[LoopholeAbuse satisfy the letter]] of his curse [[PokeThePoodle without doing anything genuinely terrible]], so one of his "crimes" is to disinherit his only son. There's just one small problem:
-->'''Roderic:''' But you haven't got a son.
-->'''Robin:''' No--not yet. I disinherited him in advance, to save time. You see--by this arrangement--he'll be born ready disinherited.
-->'''Roderic:''' I see. But I don't think you can do that.
-->'''Robin:''' My good sir, [[InsaneTrollLogic if I can't disinherit my own unborn son, whose unborn son can I disinherit?]]
* IHaveThisFriend: Robin and Rose make use of this trope in the song "I know a youth.".
* IHaveYouNowMyPretty: Subverted militantly by Dame Hannah, who when Robin is ordered by his ghostly ancestors to carry her off, turns the tables and begins to pursue him with a large dagger.
* IntentionallyAwkwardTitle: As mentioned above, the title ''Ruddigore'' was rather racy for its day-- even worse before it was changed from the original, [[FelonyMisdemeanor ''Ruddygore'']]-- owing to its similarity to the rude word "bloody."
* ItIsPronouncedTroPay: "R-u-t-h-v-e-n" is pronounced "Rivven".
* KingBobTheNth: Several of the ancestors are listed only by which number baronet they are.
* KnightFever: Sir, which is a baronet's title as well as a knight's. Applies to every male member of the Murgatroyd family, and to Sir Richard Dauntless.
* LampshadeHanging: Incessantly. (''See'' CrowdSong'' above, for an example'')
* LogicBomb: How Ruthven breaks the curse. [[spoiler: He'll die if he doesn't commit the crime. So if he does nothing, he's attempting suicide. But attempting suicide is a crime!]]
* LoneDalek[=/=]BeingEvilSucks: Every single Baronet of Ruddigore
* LyricalDissonance: "I shipped d'ye see" is a cheery patriotic naval ballad about ''fleeing'' from the French.
* {{Melodrama}}: The conventions of Victorian melodramas are the primary satire/parody target of this operetta.
* MessyHair: Mad Margaret, who is "an obvious caricature of theatrical madness."
* MilesGloriosus: Richard's song "I shipped, d'ye see," tells how his ship bravely turned tail and ran away from a French frigate, because, uh, they didn't want to hurt the poor helpless Frenchmen, that was it. Amusingly, a lot of people [[PoesLaw missed that it was a satire]].
* MinionWithAnFInEvil: Ruthven.
* {{Motormouth}}: Those who sing the PatterSong.
* MuggingTheMonster: "I shipped, d'ye see, in a revenue sloop..."
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Sir Despard Murgatroyd.
** In the original script (and some modern productions), when the curse falls on Robin, his faithful retainer Adam Goodheart changes his name to "Gideon Crawle" to reflect his new commitment to evil. Their duet at the beginning of Act II included a second verse lampshading this, with the chorus: "How providential when you find / The face an index to the mind / And evil men compelled to call / Themselves by names like Gideon Crawle!" Gilbert left Adam as "Adam" in later editions -- except in one line where Ruthven, without explanation, says "Gideon Crawle, it won't do...".
* NamesToTrustImmediately: Adam Goodheart (subtly subverted, in that in Victorian British English, "Adam" was accented on the second syllable), Sir Richard Dauntless (subverted in that he's actually a cowardly knave), Rose Maybud, and presumably the PosthumousCharacter Stephen Trusty (Dame Hannah's father).
* NoManOfWomanBorn: Robin's stroke of FridgeLogic frees the Murgatroyds from their curse, somehow bringing them all back to life.
* OldMaid: Averted with extreme prejudice by Dame Hanna. She's an old "tiger-cat" who leaps into hand-to-hand combat with her "ravisher" and terrorises him (''à la'' "[[WesternAnimation/TheDoverBoys dainty Dora Stanpipe]]").
* OldRetainer: Old Adam Goodheart.
* TheOphelia: {{Parodied}} with Mad Margaret. The stage directions even specify that she should be "an obvious caricature of theatrical madness."
* PairTheSpares: The female chorus is paired off with either the revivified ghosts, or the visiting gentlemen from the city, depending on version. It's kind of set up in Act I, where the women gush over the visiting gentlemen because "The sons of the tillage / Who dwell in this village" ... "Though honest and active, / They're most unattractive". Also, Richard and Zorah, who he's had no lines with before then. Mind, the opera's a spoof of bad melodrama plots, so...
* PatterSong: "My eyes are fully open to my awful situation."
** The patter is lampshaded in the final verse. (''See'' SelfDeprecation, ''below''.)
* PokeThePoodle: The crimes of Sir Ruthven (except, of course, when he shot a fox[[note]]Shooting a fox was considered unsportsmanlike among Victorian gentry. The preferred method of disposal was by a team of hounds[[/note]]. Oh, horror!).
* PowerOfFriendship: Parodied by Robin's claiming he would never speak a word against Richard, even when the latter is stealing his girl – and then loading him with such [[DamnedByFaintPraise backhanded compliments]] that Rose speedily dumps the hapless mariner.
* PunchClockVillain: All the Murgatroyds, but particularly Sir Despard.
* QuietlyPerformingSisterShow: It was the team's follow-up to their greatest hit, ''Theatre/TheMikado''; though it subsequently gained a reputation for being the pair's first "failure," it actually ran for 288 performances, and Gilbert himself remarked, "It ran eight months and, with the sale of the libretto, put £7,000 into my pocket." He also said, "I could do with a few more such failures."
* ReallyGetsAround: Richard Dauntless, according to Robin.
* RearrangeTheSong: For many years, the opera was not performed with its original (rather weak) overture (not by Sullivan himself, but by his assistant Hamilton Clarke), but with a new one composed by Savoy conductor Geoffrey Toye in 1919.
* RomanticFalseLead: Rose chooses Richard when Robin makes an (enforced) Face Heel Turn in the first act finale, but easily switches back to Robin in the second.
* SanitySlippageSong: Despard and Margaret sing a song ("I once was a very abandoned person") all about how crazy and evil they used to be, before they got better. As the song progresses, they start to get a bit caught up in the crazy again, before restraining themselves.
* SelfDeprecation: In "My eyes are fully open to my awful situation":'
--> This particularly rapid unintelligible patter
-->Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter!
** And this dialogue:
-->'''[[TheOphelia Mad Margaret]]:''' But see, they come – Sir Despard and his evil crew! Hide, hide – they are all mad – quite mad!
-->'''Rose:''' What makes you think that?
-->'''Margaret:''' Hush! [[LampshadeHanging They sing choruses in public.]] That's mad enough, I think.
* ShaggyFrogStory: "You pity me? Then be my mother! The squirrel had a mother, but she drank and the squirrel fled!"
* ShoutOut ShoutOut/ToShakespeare: Robin quotes "Alas, poor ghost!" Also, his faithful servant Adam is named after a similar character in ''AsYouLikeIt''.
* SpookyPainting: The ghosts of the former Bad Baronets emerge from their paintings to torment the current inheritor of the family curse.
* SurvivalMantra: Played for laughs; saying the word "Basingstoke"[[note]]a small town in northeast Hampshire, at the time noted mainly for a series of riots against the Salvation Army by employees of the local breweries[[/note]] always succeeds at bringing Mad Margaret to her senses.
* TalkAboutTheWeather: Robin Cannot Spit It Out to Rose, so he talks to her about the weather instead.
* TrappedInVillainy: The curse of the Murgatroyds. The resolution is [[spoiler: when Sir Ruthven realizes that refusing to commit a daily crime is tantamount to suicide. [[LogicBomb And suicide is, itself, a crime.]] [[LoopholeAbuse So he fullfills the terms of the curse by refusing to do so.]]]]
* TwiceShy: Rose Maybud and Robin Oakapple.
* VerbalTic: Richard's "D'ye see" even recurs in his solo number.
* VillainSong: Subverted in "Oh, why am I moody and sad" -- Despard is ''complaining'' about being the DesignatedVillain because of his {{curse}}. Also "When the night wind howls" and "Henceforth all the crimes" (er, sort of).
** "You understand? I think I do" probably counts as a Villain Duet, despite the lines about how they have to do it because "duty must be done", and about how "painful" the duty is. [[LyricalDissonance It's a cheery bouncy song that they happily dance to the entire time they're singing it]].