Prepare to be enchanted as the timeless charm of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing comes to life on the stage with the delightful comic opera, Beatrice & Benedict.
A tale of wit, romance, and the complexities of love, the show will be performed in English and presented in two captivating acts by Mid Wales Opera as part of its SmallStages Tour.
The tour has been created as part of Folio400 which aims to arrange, encourage and promote the 400th birthday of The First Folio, the first printed edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays, in 2023.
Beatrice and Benedict were created by William Shakespeare for Much Ado About Nothing and are known for their witty and sharp-tongued exchanges, which form one of the central themes of the play.
Berlioz’s final opera sets to music the wild and illogical whirlwind of falling in love, bringing a rich warmth of invention to Shakespeare that virtually no other composer has achieved.
Berlioz’s life-long passion for Shakespeare is evident throughout his miraculous score, radiant with love and sparkling with energy, and including the famous central nocturne duet, perhaps the most beautiful thing Berlioz ever wrote.
Berlioz’s creative brilliance shines as he not only composed the enchanting score but also crafted the French libretto himself.
Drawing inspiration from a subplot of Shakespeare’s comedic gem, Berlioz embarked on this musical journey, bringing the spirit of Beatrice and Benedict to life.
This is a great opportunity to enjoy MWO’s production which features six singers and four musicians, with an English singing translation by Amanda Holden, together with Shakespeare’s original texts adapted by Richard Studer and a new chamber arrangement by Jonathan Lyness.
Music director Lyness said: “MWO started thinking about a Shakespeare season a few years ago. We wanted to stage one of the great Verdi/Shakespeare operas as MWO’s Main Stages spring production. This left us with a quandary as to what to do for our Small Stages tour.
“Thinking about Verdi and his passion for Shakespeare led me to think about Berlioz and his similar passion for Shakespeare. They are the two great Shakespearean composers of the 19th century, arguably of all time.
“Remarkably, just as Verdi turned to writing a Shakespearean comedy at the end of his life, so too had Berlioz. And just as Falstaff confirmed Verdi to be at the height of his powers, so Beatrice and Benedict had confirmed Berlioz’s inspiration to be in full flight.”
Artistic director Richard Studer said: “Working on the SmallStages tour is always fun, from sitting in my studio creating an adaptive set that will work in the wide variety of community venues that we perform in, rehearsing the singers through these hilarious comedies to finally loading up the van and setting off on tour.
“There is something magical about performing to an audience in their local venue where they sit amidst friends with a pint and the occasional dog in tow to enjoy an evening of live music and comedy performed to the highest professional standards.”
So, prepare to be transported to a world of comedic romance as Beatrice and Benedict take centre stage.
The Beatrice & Benedict tour visits a wide-range of places including Neuadd Dyfi, Aberdyfi on Wednesday, 25 October; Criccieth Memorial Hall on Friday, 27 October; and the Dragon Theatre, Barmouth on Wednesday, 8 November.