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Classical Music in Italy

Genoa, Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict in the Italian premiere inaugurates the season of the Carlo Felice Opera
Inspired by Shakespeare, the French composer's opéra-comique (1862) arrives in Italy exactly 160 years after its debut; on the podium Donato Renzetti, directed by Damiano Michieletto, the sets by Paolo Fantin

Carlo Felice Theater Foundation of Genoa Presents

"Opera Season 2022/23"
The inauguration of theOpera Carlo Felice of Genoa, than Friday October 28 opens the Opera Season 2022-23 with Béatrice et Bénédict of Berlioz in first for Italy.

The work of the French composer, opéra-comique inspired by the Shakespearean comedy Much Ado about Nothing (Much Ado About Nothing) lands for the first time on the beautiful country scene - where it is set - 160 years after its debut in August 1862, filling a gap in the programming, as underlined by the Superintendent Claudio Orazi and the artistic director Pierangelo Conte.

The six performances of Béatrice et Bénédict at the Genoese Opera (after the premiere of 28, reruns in the days 29 and 30 October is 4, 5, 6 November) have a new staging never seen live, made byOpéra de Lyon in collaboration with Carlo Felice in December 2020 and never staged with the public but only filmed due to the pandemic.

To get on the podium will be the Maestro Donato Renzetti, director emeritus of the Opera Carlo Felice, which he reaches with Béatrice et Bénédict the record of 100 titles in the repertoire. The production direction is signed by Damiano Michieletto, with scenes curated by Paolo Fantin - freshly nominated for the 2022 Opera Awards - the costumes of Agostino Cavalca, the choreography of Chiara Vecchi and the lights of Alessandro Carletti.

The cast consists of Nicola Ulivieri (Don Pedro), Yoann Dubruque (Claudio), Julien Behr which alternates with Giorgio Misseri in the role of Bénédict, Gérald Robert-Tissot (Léonato), Benedetta Torre with Francesca Benitez engaged in the role of Héro, Cecilia Molinari that with Sofia Koberidze plays Béatrice, Eve-Maud Hubeaux which together with Gaia Petrone plays the role of Ursule e Ivan Thirion in the role of Somarone.


Hector Berlioz (La Côte-Saint-André 1893 - Paris 1869) composed Béatrice et Bénédict expressly for theinauguration of the new Baden-Baden Theater, an elegant spa town in southern Germany and a holiday resort for the aristocracy and international high society of the time, so much so that it was nicknamed “the summer capital of Europe”.

The composer, starting from 1853, had visited the pleasant location several times, in charge of the direction of the summer music festivals.

It was Berlioz himself to get on the podium for the world premiere of Béatrice et Bénédict, the August 9, 1862, making use of a first-rate cast: the two eponymous roles were created by two stars of the Paris Opera, Anne Charton-Demeur is Achille-Félix Montaubry. The evening, which they attended among others Georges Bizet is Charles Gounod, had great success.

The work was then resumed in a German version in Weimar the following year, again directed by Berlioz, who was "overwhelmed by all sorts of courteous attention", as he noted in his memoirs. The first performance in France took place only many years later, in June 1890 at the Théâtre de l'Odéon in Paris. Although it has never entered the repertoire permanently, since the 2000s several new productions of Béatrice et Bénédict have been staged, both in Europe and in the United States.

Very loosely inspired and with broad cuts to the comedy of William Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing (Much Ado About Nothing), Béatrice et Bénédict is composed on a libretto written by the composer himself, and alternates sung parts with spoken dialogues, as is typical of'opéra-comique.

The work, with a cheerful and light atmosphere, is conceived as an opportunity for fun and purely playful pleasure, in harmony with the context for which it was written. The slender plot revolves around amorous skirmishes and deceptions that lead to a finale where love triumphs, touching chords that are now sentimental, now grotesque.

The weakness of the theatrical action is amply compensated by the lightness and delicacy of the music, which dresses "emotions and feelings in the nascent, pure state [...] reactions that emerge with immediacy and richness of images within the variegated stylization of the song, organically distributed in the wise architecture of the closed pieces, and through the crystalline brilliance of the instrumentation, as much chiseled down to the most subtle nuances (starting from the sparkling overture, which introduces into the rapid and brilliant climate of the work without revealing the theme too clearly) as it is full of ingenious inventions and found (in the colorful ensembles, in the reprise of an almost surreal Sicilian as a central entr'acte). Everything in this work suggests an elusive project in its own dramatic thinness, the result of a mysterious and fascinating intuition, which reacts to the neurosis of modernity with the enchanted weapons of lightness. " (Sergio Sablich)

Genoa, Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict in the Italian premiere inaugurates the season of the Carlo Felice Opera


Don Pedro Nicola Ulivieri
Claudio Yoann Dubruque
Bénédict Julien Behr/
Giorgio Misseri (29, 5)
Léonato Gérald Robert-Tissot
Héro Benedetta Torre/
Francesca Benitez (29, 5)
Béatrice Cecilia Molinari/
Sofia Koberidze (29, 5)
Ursule Eve-Maud Hubeaux/
Gaia Petrone (29, 5)
Somarone Ivan Thirion

Concert master and conductor
Donato Renzetti
Direction Damiano Michieletto 
Scenes Paolo Fantin
Costumes Agostino Rides
Choreography Chiara Vecchi
Lights Alessandro Carletti

Orchestra, Chorus and Technicians of the Opera Carlo Felice Genova
Choir Master Claudio Marino Moretti

New staging of the Opéra de Lyon
in collaboration with the Carlo Felice Theater Foundation in Genoa

First performance in Italy


Béatrice et Bénédict
Opéra-comique in two acts

Music by Hector Berlioz
Libretto by Hector Berlioz
from Much ado about nothing by William Shakespeare


28 October 2022 at 8 pm first performance
29 October 2022, 3 pm
October 30, 2022, 3 pm
November 4, 2022 at 8 pm
November 5, 2022, 3 pm
November 6, 2022, 3 pm

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