Béatrice et Bénédict

Hector Berlioz


United Kingdom | http://glyndebourne.com

Béatrice et Bénédict

Opera Comique in two acts (1862)
Music and Libretto by Hector Berlioz
Recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival, August 2016
Performed in French with English Subtitles

A delightfully sparkling opéra comique, Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict was inspired by Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. In summer 2016, honouring the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death, the Glyndebourne Festival presented its first-ever staging of the work.

Laurent Pelly made an ideal choice of director. “In both the opera house and the theatre I like to tackle forms that are unconventional and not typically classical,” he says, “and to make unlikely, idiosyncratic pieces work … That applies to Béatrice et Bénédict.” He has spoken of the “precision of emotional detail” in the piece, pointing out the way farce and fantasy are juxtaposed with depth of feeling. As Opera magazine wrote of a decisive moment in the drama: “Rarely are we offered such moving, sensitive insight into a character’s state of mind; rarely does a theatrical gesture articulate so poignantly what is suggested by the music.”

Working with designer Barbara de Limburg he created an elegant, monochrome world in which boxes magically open to reveal objects, characters and action. The title roles are taken by the brilliant French mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d’Oustrac and the charming American tenor Paul Appleby, who are joined by Belgian soprano Sophie Karthäuser, Serbian mezzo Katarina Bradiæ and Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly. Antonello Manacorda conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Music Composer Hector Berlioz
Libretto by Hector Berlioz

Stage production:
Producer Glyndebourne Festival (2016)
Production designers
Director Laurent Pelly
Set Designer Barbara de Limburg
Costume Designer Laurent Pelly
Lighting Designer Duane Schuler
Dialogue Adaptation Agathe Mélinand

Conductor Antonello Manacorda
Orchestra London Philharmonic Orchestra
Leader Vesselin Gellev
Choir The Glyndebourne Chorus
Chorus Master Jeremy Bines

Soloist singers
Léonato Georges Bigot
Messenger Charles Meunier
Héro Sophie Karthäuser
Béatrice Stéphanie d’Oustrac
Don Pedro Frédéric Caton
Bénédict Paul Appleby

Claudio Philippe Sly
Somarone Lionel Lhote
Ursule Katarina Bradić
First Servant Adrien Mastrosimone
Second Servant Paul O’Neill
Notary Paul Sheridan

Andrew Carter
Anthony Kurt Gabel
Andrew Hayler
Josh Sneesby
Television recording
TV Director François Roussillon