Wilton actor James Cooper will take the stage on Saturday, April 6 and 13, when Troupers Light Opera performs the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Ruddigore in the Norwalk Concert Hall. Cooper will have two roles in the men’s chorus: one as a fancy Londoner out vacationing in the remote village of Rederring, and one as a ghostly ancestor to the Baronet of Ruddigore.
Cooper has sung in the men’s chorus of Troupers for 18 years and serves as the company’s treasurer, webmaster and technical director. He also served one term as. In addition to Troupers, he has had numerous roles at the Wilton Playshop, Musicals at Richter, and New Canaan Town Players, as well as performing with College Light Opera on Cape Cod and the Madison Savoyards.
First performed in 1887, Ruddigore is one of the lesser-known Gilbert and Sullivan operas. It has been a traditional favorite of light opera fans, however, as it features some of Sullivan’s finest duets, choruses, and dance numbers, along with Gilbert’s witty dialogue, plot twists, and biting satire of Victorian society.
The characters include Mad Margaret in love with the show’s villain, the Baronet of Ruddigore. Dame Hannah is in love with a previous baronet, whose ghost, along with those of the other previous baronets, haunts the current heir to the title. That heir is a shy, retiring fellow who would do anything to escape his fate, which is to commit a crime every day or perish. They are all backed up by a women’s chorus of professional bridesmaids and a men’s chorus of ghostly ancestors who routinely pop out of their picture frames.
Ruddigore will be performed at the Norwalk Concert Hall on April 6 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and on April 13 at 2:30 and 7:30. Tickets are available at TroupersLightOpera.org or by calling 800-838-3006.