Ruddigore Trivia No. 1.
The scene with the ghostly ancestral portraits in Act II of Ruddigore is generally considered one of the highlights of the entire G&S series; but Gilbert himself disliked it: he maintained that he had wanted the scene to be treated humorously, and that Sullivan’s dramatic music was “like introducing fifty lines of Paradise Lost into a farcical comedy”. He always remained touchy on this issue, and Sullivan made a pointed rejoinder by bequeathing the autograph score of Ruddigore to Gilbert in his will.
Ruddigore Trivia No. 2.
Though not the least successful in respect of the length of its initial run, Ruddigore was by far the least well-received of all the operas on its first night. Sullivan noted in his diary that the audience was becoming restive in the last twenty minutes of Act II, and some hisses and calls of “Give us back The Mikado!” were heard among the applause at the final curtain. Gilbert, in a speech many years later, referred to Ruddigoreas their “one conspicuous failure.”
Ruddigore Trivia No. 3.
Richard’s song “I shipped, d’ye see, in a revenue sloop”, a piece of comic satire relating how a British ship runs away from a possible fight with a French one, was totally misunderstood by the correspondent of the French Newspaper “Le Figaro”; and Gilbert and Sullivan, to prevent a minor international incident, were obliged to explain that the song was not intended as an insult to the French.