Shakespeare: Béatrice et Bénédict and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Date: Saturday 6 August 2016
Venue: Ebert Room
Our second study day will envelop you in a magnificent world where Shakespeare and opera intersect and enrich each other. Mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death at Glyndebourne and deepen your understanding of Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by delving into their shared Shakespearean roots.
Mervyn Cooke, Professor of Music at the University of Nottingham and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Britten, will explore the relationship between Shakespeare’s and Britten’s works. Describing his adaptation process, Britten famously wrote: ‘I do not feel in the least guilty at having cut the play in half. The original Shakespeare will survive.’
David Cairns, journalist and author of the definitive two-volume biography of Berlioz (Berlioz: The Making of an Artist 1803–1832 and Berlioz: Servitude and Greatness 1832-1869) will give an expert insight into the composer’s own adaption of Shakespeare’s play, which resulted in the splendid and hilarious Béatrice et Bénédict. Berlioz first saw Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing as a 23-year-old in Paris. It was not until 30 years later that he finally realised his ambition to set Shakespeare’s sparkling comedy to music.
Next, study day participants will have the opportunity to witness a very special musical performance. Members of the Glyndebourne Chorus will bring Britten’s and Berlioz’s characters to life, illustrating the two composers’ individual approaches to creating character in music.
The study day will conclude with a panel discussion where the speakers will be joined by members of the production team of Béatrice et Bénédict and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The study day will be moderated by classical music journalist Warwick Thompson.
Lunch is available at an extra cost of £15.50 for two courses in Nether Wallop Restaurant if pre-booked.