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Beatrice and Benedict
PREMIERE8/9/1862 — Theater Baden-Baden
COMPOSERHector Berlioz   
LIBRETTISTHector Berlioz   
 
Synopsis

Béatrice et Bénédict (Beatrice and Benedick) is an opéra comique in two acts by French composer Hector Berlioz. Berlioz wrote the French libretto himself, based closely on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

Berlioz had been interested in setting Shakespeare's comedy since his return from Italy in 1833, but only composed the score of Béatrice et Bénédict following the completion of Les Troyens in 1858. It was first performed at the opening of the Theater Baden-Baden on 9 August 1862. Berlioz conducted the first two performances of a German version in Weimar in 1863, where, as he wrote in his memoirs, he was "overwhelmed by all sorts of kind attention."

It is the first notable version of Shakespeare's play in operatic form, and was followed by works by, among others, Árpád Doppler, Paul Puget, Charles Villiers Stanford, and Reynaldo Hahn.

Berlioz biographer David Cairns has written: "Listening to the score's exuberant gaiety, only momentarily touched by sadness, one would never guess that its composer was in pain when he wrote it and impatient for death".

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Alternate Titles/Spellings
Beatrice et Benedict
Béatrice et Bénédict
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