Béatrice et Bénédict
"Béatrice et Bénédict" ("Beatrice and Benedict") is a comic
operain two acts by Hector Berlioz. The French librettowas written by Berlioz himself, based loosely on Shakespeare's " Much Ado About Nothing".It was first performed at the Theater der Stadt, Baden-Badenon August 9, 1862.
Berlioz completed the score to the work between the completion and production of his magnum opus, the monumental opera "
Les Troyens". Shortly after its successful premiere in Baden, Berlioz conducted the first two performances of a German version in Weimar, where he was "overwhelmed by all sorts of kind attention," as he recorded in his memoirs.
"Béatrice et Bénédict" is infrequently performed and never became part of the standard operatic repertoire. There are several recordings of the opera, and the overture is frequently heard on the symphonic concert stage.
16th century.:Place: Messina, Sicily.
Don Pedro, prince of
Aragon, is visiting Messina after a successful military victory over the Moors, which is celebrated by all of Sicily. He is joined by two friends and fellow soldiers, Claudio and Bénédict. They are greeted by Léonato, governor of Messina, together with his daughter, Héro, and niece, Béatrice.
Héro awaits the return of her fiancé, Claudio. Béatrice inquires about and scorns Bénédict. They trade insults and tease each other. Bénédict swears to his friends that he will never marry. Later, Claudio and Pedro scheme to trick Bénédict into marrying Béatrice. Knowing that he is listening, Léonato assures Pedro that Béatrice loves Bénédict. Bénédict decides to pursue her. Upon hearing this, Bénédict resolves that Béatrice's love must not go unrequited. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Héro and her attendant, Ursula, manage to play a similar trick on Béatrice who now believes that Bénédict is secretly in love with her.
To celebrate the pending wedding of Claudio and Héro, Léonato hosts a masquerade party. A local music teacher, Somarone, leads the group in song and everbody enjoys themselves except Béatrice who realizes that she has fallen in love with Bénédict. As she turns to leave she is met by Bénédict, prompting an exchange in which they both attempt to conceal their love for each other. A notary solemnizes the marriage and, as arranged by Léonato, asks a second couple to come forward. Bénédict summons the courage to declare his love to Béatrice and the two sign the wedding contract along with Héro and Claudio.
* [http://www.hberlioz.com/Libretti/BetB.htm HBerlioz.com | Béatrice et Bénédict libretto]
* [http://www.karadar.com/Librettos/berlioz_beatrice.html Karadar.com | Béatrice et Bénédict libretto]
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