Béatrice et Bénédict (‘Beatrice and Benedick’)
- D. Kern Holoman
Opéra in two acts by Hector Berlioz to his own libretto after William Shakespeare ’s Much Ado about Nothing; Baden-Baden, Theater der Stadt, 9 August 1862.
The celebrated overture, though not a pot-pourri in the usual sense, characterizes the substance of the opera by alluding to quite a number of passages to follow. The first act takes place in the garden of Léonato [Leonato] (spoken), governor of Messina in Sicily. The townspeople rejoice that the invading Moors have fled from Don Pedro (bass) and his force. Soon the victors will be home, and Héro [Hero] (soprano) will be reunited with her intended, Claudio (baritone). Less pleased is Béatrice [Beatrice] (soprano), her cousin, to contemplate the return of Bénédict [Benedick] (tenor), with whom she has long enjoyed ‘a kind of merry war’. Those so far assembled dance a ...