Glynebourne Festival 2016 comes LIVE to the Wellesley Cinema, Wellington on Tuesday 9 August when Berlioz’ opera ‘Béatrice et Bénédict’ is transmitted direct to audiences around the country.
The opera is based on Shakespeare’s comedy ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and is an expression of Berlioz’ lifelong love of his plays. This is a new production for Glynebourne and has been chosen to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.
Written in 1862 when he was very ill it is Berlioz last work. He chose to strip the play of its subplot involving Don John’s malicious intrigue, wrote the libretto himself and fashioned his own subplot involving a composer-conductor Somarone and his attempts to provide suitable music for the wedding of Claudio and Héro,
A startling staging of this production conveys Director Laurent Pelly’s idea that Béatrice and Bénédict are “two people who refuse to fit into a mould and live in a box” and grey costuming suggests 1950s wedding photos.
The production has attracted warm praise from critics for its musical performances – soloists, chorus and orchestra – although the surreal visual elements have not pleased everyone. The Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen said, “It’s beautiful to listen to, though you may not always like what you see. The choral singing thrills, and, in the pit, Antonello Manacorda proves to be an excellent Berliozian, getting classy playing from the London Philharmonic, on wonderful form.”
William Hartson in the Express said, “This is an opera with women at its heart, and here the performance is distinguished. As Ursule and Hero, Katarina Bradic and Sophie Karthäuser blend beautifully in the gorgeous Nocturne, and Stéphanie d’Oustrac makes a marvellously wiry and fiery Béatrice, singing with charm and acting with gusto. The opera is splendid, the music is glorious containing some duets and trios that are totally sublime, particularly one trio for three female voices in the second act which rivals anything similar in the entire opera repertoire.”
‘Béatrice et Bénédict’ is at the Wellesley Cinema on Tuesday 9 August at 6.30pm. Tickets online from www.welleselycinema.co.uk.