Beatrice and Benedict (Eyre version)


  • Hector Berlioz
opera in two acts
Music by Hector Berlioz. Libretto by Hector Berlioz after Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”. English version translated and adapted by Ronald Eyre
2(I=picc).2.2.2 - 4230 - timp - perc(3) - 2 harp - gtr - strings
First Performance
9.8.1862, Theater der Stadt, Baden-Baden, Germany
Published by Warner/Chappell.  Administered for hire and stage rights worldwide (excluding North America) by Faber Music Ltd
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The Story
(Messina, Sicily during the 16th Century)
Preparations are under way to welcome back the victorious General and his troops who have saved the
town from the besieging army of Moors. Hero is anxiously awaiting their arrival for she is longing to see
Claudio, he beloved. Beatrice, however, cannot understand what all the fuss is about and expresses concern when she hears that Claudio’s companion is Benedict. She declares that he is a bad influence, and upon his arrival she shows him nothing but contempt; in return, Benedict is equally insulting. He is a confirmed bachelor who does not believe in love or marriage. He has seen the effect love can have on his fellow officer, Claudio, who once only used to think of military matters but whose mind is now constantly occupied with Hero, his bride-to-be. Don Pedro, however, is of the option that Beatrice and Benedict would make an excellent couple in spite of their apparent dislike of each other. To overcome this problem, he formulates a plan whereby Benedict is lead to believe that Beatrice is madly in love with him, while Beatrice is told that Benedict is infatuated with her. This news causes them to re-assess their opinion of each other and they come to the conclusion that perhaps they are in love after all. At first they conceal their mutual feelings but the power of love eventually proves too strong, and calling a truce, they join Claudio and Hero in the signing to marriage contract.  
Principal Characters (plus Chorus)
Don Pedro (a General)
Leonato (the Governor of Messina)
Hero (his daughter)
Beatrice (Leonato’s Niece)
Claudio (an Officer)
Benedict (an Officer) 
Ursula (Hero’s Companion)
Principal Musical Numbers 
I Should Say Disdain (Beatrice, Benedict)
Marry A Wife? (Benedict, Claudio, Don Pedro)
Yes, I’ll Fall In Love (Benedict)
Is That A Sigh of Sorrow? (Hero, Ursula)
No, They Would Not Deceive Me! (Beatrice)

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