In Part 3 of a series of interviews with the cast of Victorian Lyric Opera’s Ruddigore, meet Amanda Jones.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year?
My name is Amanda Jones. I have been performing with VLOC since 2013. I was recently seen in the VLOC productions of The Pirates of Penzance (Kate), The Charlatan (Katrinka), and Haddon Hall (Dorcas).
Why did you want to be part of Ruddigore at VLOC?
I was first introduced to Gilbert and Sullivan when I was cast in a production of Ruddigore during college. From that experience, I fell in love with the Gilbert and Sullivan canon, so when I heard that VLOC was performing Ruddigore this season, I was very excited to be a part of this show again. It is a pleasure to perform with VLOC, because everyone involved in the company shares the same love I have for Gilbert and Sullivan’s work. It is a marvelously talented group of people and I learn so much with each production.
Why is Ruddigore so relevant today and what does it have to say to audiences of all ages? And why do you think it’s still so popular among Gilbert and Sullivan fans?
Ruddigore is a parody of Victorian melodrama, which in many ways is a precursor to the mystery genres that are so popular today. I think audiences will enjoy the dark, supernatural story line as well as the classic Gilbert and Sullivan comedic satire. In addition, the music is beautiful and audience members will certainly be humming some of the tunes on their way home.
Who do you play in the show?
Have you appeared in other productions of Ruddigore, and if yes, who did you play, and how is this production different and unique?
I was in a production in college where I was part of the bridesmaid’s chorus. The chorus music for Ruddigore is truly excellent and I had a wonderful time. This production will be a very different experience. For one, I am playing Mad Margaret, so I will have a whole different set of music and dialogue. Also, in this production, the director has encouraged us to bring out all the stock melodrama characterizations which should make for a unique experience.
Tell me about the arias you sing and what we learn about your character in these arias/songs?
My first aria (“Cheerily Carols the Lark”) is where you meet Margaret and get to know her character. It sets up the fact that she is mad as her name implies, but also gives a context for why she is mad. She was driven mad by love and you can sense her sadness in this first aria.
The second duet with Despard (“I Once Was a Very Abandoned Person”) shows Margaret’s attempt to develop a new persona. She has found her love, Despard, and now strives (not always successfully) to be a genteel lady. The final trio for Margaret is the famous “Matter Patter” trio. This song is such a treat to sing and a way to move along the coming resolution to the story.
What is your favorite aria that you don’t sing?
My favorite is the duet for Hannah and Sir Roderic, “There Grew a Little Flower.” It is such a touching moment for these two, which shows the constancy of their love.
Which character in the show is most like you, and why?
I think I am a lot like Dame Hannah. She is feisty and intelligent but also fiercely loyal to her true love.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
I most admire the amount of time and work they put in to learning their characters. Everyone brings their full energy to each rehearsal and pushes you harder to perform up to that standard in your own role.
In 10 words or less – how do you describe Ruddigore?
A witty, spooky, and ingenious satire on Victorian melodrama
What was the best advice or suggestions that Director Helen Aberger gave you about playing your character and how has Musical Director Joseph Sorge helped you vocally?
Helen told me that Mad Margaret, despite her insanity, is perhaps the character that is most easy to relate to. She was driven mad by love and every action she has is working towards getting her love back. She encouraged me to play around with the physicality of madness. Joe has helped me develop the phrasing for this character to highlight both the madness of Margaret as well as her sadness and vulnerability.
What are you doing next on the stage after Ruddigore?
I have nothing set up now, but I am excited to be a part of VLOC’s next season!
Why should audience goers bring their families to see Ruddigore?
To see a group of talented actors bring to life this fascinating parody of melodrama. I think audience members of all ages will enjoy hearing this beautiful music set in the silliness of the story.
Ruddigore plays from June 11-21, 2015 at The Victorian Lyric Opera Company performing at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at The Rockville Civic Center – 603 Edmonston Drive, in Rockville, MD. For tickets, call Call the box office at (240) 314-8690, or purchase them at the box office 2 hours before each performance. Box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Meet the Cast of Victorian Lyric Opera Company’s ‘Ruddigore’: Part 1: Mary Mitchell.
Meet the Cast of Victorian Lyric Opera Company’s ‘Ruddigore’: Part 2: Carla Rountree.
Meet the Cast of Victorian Lyric Opera Company’s ‘Ruddigore’ Part 3: Amanda Jones.