The Ohio Light Opera Ruddigore (2009)
Ohio Light Opera
This recording continues Ohio Light Opera's ongoing series of G&S releases, now up to eight operas. Like the other OLO sets, the recording includes all of the dialogue, and it also restores all of the traditional D'Oyly Carte cuts of the 1920s. Hence, one could argue that this is the only truly complete Ruddigore ever recorded.
I don't have the set, but two Internet reviews have been brought to my attention. Stephen Eddins of All Music Guide wrote:
The inclusion of the dialogue is always risky when non-British performers are involved, but the actors here pull it off admirably, and in several cases, with real panache and giddy humor. Generally, the dialogue is more consistently delivered than the singing, which is always at least adequate, but of variable quality. There are very fine performances by Gilbert and Sullivan veteran baritone Frederick Reeder, and capable newcomers, mezzo-soprano Sahara Glasener-Boles, baritone Ted Christopher, and soprano Cecily Ellis. Michael Borowitz's frequently sluggish conducting misses the fun of the variety of moods that Sullivan's score offers and doesn't provide the drama it requires. He is hampered (as Ohio Light Opera recordings tend to be) by having a reduced string section to work with, which sounds feeble and causes balance problems with the winds.
As the inclusion of the dialogue is likely to be the factor of most interest to Savoyards, I’m happy to report that the spoken parts are deftly handled and, except for an occasional lapse in pacing or a line or two fragmented into too many phrases, it’s a welcome treat to hear a complete Ruddigore. Several of the musical numbers make more sense when placed in the context of the plot, and some benefit by being isolated from other songs. With this recording we now have the whole G&S canon recorded with dialogue.
Some of the singers rival those singing the same roles in the Decca/EMI/Jay recordings. Even among the music-only recordings there is variability, and listeners have clear preferences and are not necessarily in agreement with each other. I liked this OLO Ruddigore and was not bothered by some less-than-perfect components. Throughout the cast I found the acting was in character. Cecily Ellis as Rose, with her wide-eyed avarice, and Anthony Buck as Richard, tossing off his lines with hokey nautical-speak (everything but “aaaarg”), were among my favorites, but I enjoyed everyone in the cast.