Howard’s Ruddigore Fantasy of 2005 was commissioned by John Farmer for Ruth Ann Galatas, and was first performed by the composer in London at a Royal Brompton Hospital charity concert on the November, 2005. The title is styled in homage to the early operatic fantasies of Liszt, and the piece is conceived as a continuous suite incorporating variations and transcriptions of several themes from Sullivan’s marvellous Ruddigore – or The Witch’s Curse. It begins with the first part of the Chorus of Ancestors, outlining the aforementioned curse, and continues with the mighty ‘When the night wind howls in the chimney cowls’. Ruth’s song from the Act 1 finale and part of the Bridesmaid’s chorus lead to the theme in 9/8 that ends the 1st act (and the whole opera, in the revised version), followed by a daredevil elaboration of the patter-trio from Act 2: ‘My eyes are fully open’ with its celebrated reiterations of ‘it really doesn’t matter, matter, matter, matter, matter’ . A nod to the earlier ‘night wind’brings the piece to a happy end.