Rian Evans, The Guardian
“Berlioz’s Shakespearean opera is stripped to the bone for four instruments and six singers, but the show is slick and spirited, with sopranos Lorena Paz Nieto and Monica McGhee standouts”
These dates are all in the past.
Mid Wales Opera are back on the road with the sixth of their critically acclaimed SmallStages productions. This time it’s Berlioz’s hilarious Beatrice and Benedict, based on Shakespeare’s much loved Much Ado About Nothing.
Performed in English
Beatrice and Benedict are both determined to stay single. Beatrice is a woman who despises men (especially Benedict) and Benedict can’t abide women (particularly Beatrice). That is until their friends plot to bring them together and they both ‘accidentally’ overhear whispers of each other’s unrequited passion; the spark of love is ignited by gossip and quickly becomes a blazing wildfire.
Berlioz’s final opera sets to music the wild and illogical whirlwind of falling in love, bringing a rich warmth of invention to Shakespeare that virtually no other composer has achieved. Indeed, Berlioz’s life-long passion for Shakespeare is evident throughout his miraculous score, radiant with love and sparkling with energy, and including the famous central nocturne duet, perhaps the most beautiful thing Berlioz ever wrote.
MWO’s production features six singers and four musicians, with an English singing translation by Amanda Holden, together with Shakespeare’s original texts adapted by Richard Studer and a new chamber arrangement by Jonathan Lyness.
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source
“This charmingly realised project provides much to cheer an autumn’s evening.”
“Roedd yn berfformiad gwych. Rydan ni’n ffyddiog o safon uchel ofnadwy gan y cwmni arbennig yma”
“Loved this in Aberdyfi! Amazing musicianship, fabulous singing. A real treat! Thank you all for a fantastic evening”
“Perfformiad gwych. Wedi ei fwynhau’n fawr. Diolch.”
“Oh lucky Criccieth! (and Builth Wells, Fishguard etc…) for your Small Stages treat in store. MWO gave us a superb night in The Mix at Theatr Cymru last night – one of the best MWO events I can remember and that’s a very high bar. Enchanting music, gorgeous singing, visually stylish. ”
“If you can [go], you should! This production is wonderful, and comes to you in your village! Over 100 people were enthralled with this production when these fantastic young musicians came to Aberdyfi.”
“The Arts are in ruins in many (yes, major understatement!) the lovely little world of Mid Wales Opera is a perfect example of levelling up, taking works to pretty much anywhere and everywhere, and getting new audiences through the door. I would urge you to spend a mere couple of hours in the company of some wonderful performers, a great little band, and realise that this sort of stuff NEVER comes to our beloved little towns!”
“Bravi! The opening night of your Small Stages tour of Beatrice & Benedict was a resounding success – an evening of absolute delight. The intimacy of the space, the perfect intonation of the ensemble, the outstanding instrumental reduction of Jon Lyness and…the sheer fun and humour of the production. I was about to write, ‘If you’ve got nothing better to do tonight…’ But you can’t have. Just go! Whenever it comes near-ish to you. Go online. Book a ticket. Buy yourself some unadulterated pleasure!!!”
“Sparkling, witty, fabulous musical arrangement. A production of the highest quality with excellent singers and with excellent acting skills. A fabulous evening – we love MWO”
“I am an opera ignoramus, but absolutely loved this! Now looking up parts of it on the web to listen to again.. cast and musicians such a cheerful bunch, thanks.”
“Wonderful to see a live performance – and so up close and personal. Not an opera I knew but really enjoyed it. The singing, the musicians, the sheer delight of the story – bravo!”
Music: Hector Berlioz
Chamber Arrangement: Jonathan Lyness
Libretto: Hector Berlioz
English Translation: Amanda Holden
Dialogue: William Shakespeare, adapted by Richard Studer
Act 1: 45 mins
Act 2: 45 mins
Beatrice: Monica McGhee
Benedict: Huw Ynyr
Hero: Lorena Paz Nieto
Claudio: John Ieuan Jones
Leonata: Stephanie Windsor-Lewis
Don Pedro: Matthew Stiff
Violin: Elenid Owen
Cello: Nicola Pearce
Clarinet: Peryn Clement-Evans
Piano: Jonathan Lyness
Director and Designer: Richard Studer
Music Director: Jonathan Lyness