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Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, December 2017

Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict is a specific realisation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It concentrates only on the sparring love/hate relationship between the shrewish Béatrice and the cynical, proudly independent Bénédict. Stéphanie d’Oustrac’s Béatrice is superb: a wild virago spitting defiance and venom at Bénédict. Paul Appleby as her Bénédict gives as good as he gets. He is waspish, street-wise and witheringly contemptuous. This Glyndeburne production is a very worthy production of a comic opera that is seldom performed and little known except for its overture. © 2017 MusicWeb International



Paul E. Robinson
Ludwig Van Toronto, November 2017

…it is the music that makes a Béatrice et Bénédict revival worthwhile, and in this Glyndebourne production, it is rendered with finesse and style. Stéphanie d’Oustrac as Béatrice is a gifted actress and sings beautifully, especially in her Act II aria based on the slow section of the Overture. © 2017 Ludwig Van Toronto Read complete review



Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, August 2017

Stéphanie d’Oustrac’s Béatrice is superb: a wild virago spitting defiance and venom at Bénédict who gives as good as he gets. As she is tricked into renouncing hate for love, she—hesitatingly and not completely convinced—demurs and discovers a feeling within herself that is deeper and more understanding than that of Bénédict, who has likewise been swayed into love by the same sort of trickery. D’Oustrac is a fine actress with a commanding yet subtly nuanced mezzo timbre. She is partnered very effectively by Paul Appleby as her Bénédict, waspish and street-wise and witheringly contemptuous, until he too succumbs to softer, if bewildered, feelings.

Impressive, too, is Sophie Karthàuser’s Héro. She expresses, in the opening scene, her girlish enthusiasm and hero-worship at the expectation of her Claudio’s triumphant return from the wars and the imminent announcement of their wedding. Later she is joined by her attendant Ursule (Katarina Bradić) in the ravishing closing of Act 1 duet in which they rhapsodise about the beauty of the evening and the bliss of love. Later in Act 2 there is another gorgeous trio for these two—and Béatrice, as they extol the joys of impending marriage. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Kevin Filipski
The Flip Side, August 2017

French director Laurent Pally’s amusing 2016 production of Hector Berlioz’s charming opera based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing juggles with, but doesn’t puncture, either the Bard or the composer, and the result is an unalloyed delight. As the eponymous haters-turned-lovers, American Paul Appleby and French soprano Stephanie d’Oustrac are perfect together and apart, while Sophie Karthauser provides winsome support as the aptly-named Hero. Hi-def video and audio are superb; lone extra is a backstage featurette. © 2017 The Flip Side



Mike Ashman
Gramophone, August 2017

BERLIOZ, H.: Béatrice et Bénédict [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2016) (NTSC) OA1239D
BERLIOZ, H.: Béatrice et Bénédict [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2016) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7219D

…such sweetness and neatness, a classical ballet of movement and placing, requires the hardest work and drill from cast and production team. And that is fully achieved here.

…Manacorda 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 spar well. The Ursule of Katarina Bradić is quite a find, more comfortable with notes and character than Sophie Karthäuser’s Héro, accurate but less ethereal than ideal. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone





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