Berlioz – Béatrice et Bénédict (130’)
From West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet) to Return to the Forbidden Planet (The Tempest), 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew) to Kiss Me, Kate (ditto), Shakespeare has proven a fruitful source of inspiration for countless writers and directors who have followed in his wake.
Composers, too, have long borrowed from his plots: Verdi’s Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor, among others) and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), to name but two – and then there’s Hector Berlioz’s comic opera Béatrice et Bénédict, one of the most joyful operatic translations of Shakespeare from page to stage. Béatrice et Bénédict boils down the story of Much Ado About Nothing to focus on the will-they-won’t-they romance between the title characters: him, a cocksure soldier back from the battlefield; and her, the niece of the local governor. Both are determined to stay single – but can they resist each other. Ludovic Morlot conducts the concert performance of this charming caprice.
Daniela Mack – mezzo-soprano
Crouch End Festival Chorus
Ludovic Morlot – conductor