Notes and Editorial Reviews
Through the eye of French director Laurent Pelly this expression of Berlioz's undying admiration for the Bard - his adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing as an opera comique - becomes ''an elegant treatise on love and music designed in shades of grey with 50's-era costumes'' (Sunday Express). Housed by designer Barbara de Limburg in a series of oversized boxes, it's ''terribly chic, terribly pretty'' (The Spectator). Soaring over the ''warmly graceful playing of the London Philharmonic'', Paul Appleby sings ''attractively'' as Benedict and Stephanie d'Oustrac ''makes a marvellously wiry and fiery Beatrice, singing with charm and acting with gusto'' (The Telegraph).
is a natural-sounding guide to the stage events shown here. His cast sound and work together naturally. Stéphanie D’Oustrac (an expressive face to enjoy in close-up) and Paul Appleby (carefully less histrionic in duet) spar well. The Ursule of Katarina Bradic´ is quite a find, more comfortable with notes and character than Sophie Karthäuser’s Héro, accurate but less ethereal than ideal. The men do well, although Lionel Lhote’s effortful Somarone the music-master, falling everywhere on a sliding table in Act 2, will not be to everyone’s comic taste—but that may be Berlioz’s fault in falling (for once) for the cliché that audiences have always seemed to find onstage musical jokes especially hysterical.
Despite some reservations, this only official DVD to date of such an important opera, well recorded and filmed in a slick modern production, deserves a place in the catalogue and on your shelves.
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Works on This Recording
Béatrice et Bénédict by Hector Berlioz
Paul Appleby (Tenor),
Sophie Karthäuser (Soprano),
Stéphanie d' Oustrac (Mezzo Soprano),
Lionel Lhote (Baritone),
Frédéric Caton (Baritone),
Katarina Bradic (Alto),
Philippe Sly (Bass Baritone)
London Philharmonic Orchestra,
Written: 1860-1862; France
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