Conductor, ARTHUR CATTERALL
ORIGINALLY in one act, afterwards extended to two, Beatrice and Benedict was commissioned for the Baden opera house, and produced there in August, 1862. Berlioz wrote both text and music, adapting parts of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing; writing about it in the previous year, while he was at work on it, ho said: 'I promise there shall not be much ado in the way of noise in it.' He went to Baden to superintend the final rehearsals and direct the first performances, and was delighted by his reception and by the lavish way in which his work was put on ; the fees paid him for it, too, seemed to him generous, though many an artist at the present day earns more for a single appearance. At the first performance, so he has recorded himself, he was suffering from such neuralgia as to have no interest in anything, and yet conducted better than usual. The opera was applauded from end to end, and he was recalled more times than he could count; the performers were as enthusiastic as the audience. In the following April, translated into German (for the cosmopolitan public of Baden it had been sung in the original French), it was given at Weimar, Berlioz himself again conducting the first two performances, and there, too, it scored a triumphant success. But though it was warmly received in other cities, too, it has not contrived to keep its hold on the public affection, despite the tenderness and charm of its melodious score.' ',To my mind, one of the liveliest and most original things I have ever done,' he said himself, and when chances are offered of hearing parts of it, most listeners agree with him.
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