Northwestern University Opera Theatre to perform Gilbert and Sullivan classic


Jeffrey Wang/The Daily Northwestern

Cast members rehearse for Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera, “Ruddigore.” The opera follows the story of a curse placed on the Murgatroyd family.

Amanda Svachula, Assistant A&E Editor


Northwestern students hope to usher in a few laughs this weekend with a vibrant performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera, “Ruddigore.”

“The energy in the room has been great,” said Alyssa Giannetti, a Bienen junior. “Every rehearsal is so positive. It will be a really great show. It’s really beautiful and hilarious.”

The show, the third production NU Opera Theatre has presented this year, will take place in Cahn Auditorium. The performance will highlight the comedy that underlies the entire show’s plot.

“The cool thing about Gilbert and Sullivan is that it’s in public domain, so you can do anything you want with it,” Giannetti said. “You can put it in any era that you want based on what the story gives you. In this one, we have a pop-up book-like look to the set and everything is very playful and cartoon-like.”

“Ruddigore” follows a curse on the Murgatroyd family. The curse requires people to commit a daily crime or submit to death. The opera is filled with twists and turns of romance and comedy. The combination of horror and comedy contributes to the cartoon-like characteristics of the opera, said Bienen senior Gabriel Wernick.

“You know that it’s playing off of stereotypical horror themes but you are not in the world of actual horror,” Wernick said. “(This is) especially (true) because this whole thing is based off of a curse. When you think of a curse you think witches and ghosts. … Because you have these themes of horror and (the director) makes these really cartoony, you know what he’s spoofing.”

The cast is made up of about thirty people, mostly undergraduates, who began rehearsing for the show at the beginning of Winter Quarter. The opera is double cast, which allows actors to learn and build off of their counterparts.

“I do like being able to work closely with the audience and then watch the other performance and get new ideas from that,” Wernick said. “There’s performing action and watching action between both casts. It’s very much growing and live. It hasn’t been static at all. Especially because it’s a comedy, everyone’s always finding different places to add different jokes.”

Bienen senior Joseph Schuster describes “Ruddigore” as a very lighthearted show that’s great for people who have never seen an opera before. He also describes the show as 100 percent a comedy.

“The plots in operas are always kind of high stakes with people dying,” Schuster said. “This one has much more dancing and is much closer to a musical compared to most operas. If someone is unfamiliar with opera, it’s a great way to get exposed to the genre. People should be laughing.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Joseph Schuster’s name. The Daily regrets the error.

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