Much Ado About Nothing

I’ve been working on my next opera projects, researching characters, storylines, learning the music and words. I have watched the movie version of the play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and bought a couple of books on how to interpret Shakespeare’s words correctly.

This year Northern Opera Group will host the Leeds Opera Festival from 23rd to 27th August 2019 at venues across the city. The Leeds Opera Festival will include A Feast of Falstaff, where the audience will be treated to a sumptuous feast accompanied by music from three Falstaff operas – by Verdi, Salieri and Balfe – followed by a screening of Orson Welles’ masterpiece, ‘Chimes at Midnight’.

Another new performance to be savoured at the Festival is the aptly titled Musical Confusion. This captivating performance will imaginatively weave together text and song to seamlessly bring together Shakespeare’s original plays with many of the operas inspired by his works.

Headlining this year’s Leeds Opera Festival will be a full production of Stanford’s comic gem, Much Ado About Nothing, transported to 1950s small-town America, where the makings of a cultural revolution are just getting started … 

There will be two performances in the fabulous setting of Morley Townhall on the 23rd and 24th August at 7:30pm.  I am thrilled to share with you that I will be performing the role of Hero in this wonderful production and I can’t wait to meet everyone involved.  This will be the second production of the summer that I will take to the stage with the fabulous Phil Wilcox who plays the role of Benedick in this production and he will also be reprising the role of Sir Thomas Bertram when we both return to Waterperry Opera Festival in July to perform in Mansfield Park.

Cast & Creatives

Much Ado About Nothing was a comedy by William Shakespeare, written in 1598 (the middle of Shakespeare’s career).  In Shakespeare’s day, ‘Nothing’ or ‘Noting’ as he wrote meant gossip, rumour or overhearing and we all know how much misunderstanding and confusion can be created by a little gossip or Chinese whispers.

Largely unperformed since its premiere at the Royal Opera House in 1901, Stanford’s opera is a hilarious, moving and hugely entertaining adaptation of Shakespeare’s play.

In the story Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful. But in the end, Benedick and Beatrice join forces to set things right, and the others join in a dance celebrating the marriages of the two couples.

I’ve sung several songs that have used Shakespeare’s words before but this is my first full operatic adaptation of one of his plays. Do you have a favourite play, book or another Shakespeare play that you think would work well set to music?

59 thoughts on “Much Ado About Nothing

  1. We have a good Shakespeare Company here in Louisville Kentucky. They just perform as you like it and Henry the fourth part two. Falstaff is one of my favorite characters. Best wishes. Your friend, Benn

    1. It’s good to hear you have a Shakespeare Company in Kentucky we don’t have one that I know of near where I grew up, although I did visit Stratford upon Avon his birthplace a couple of years ago. I have promised myself some time this year to really study Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet. I must try to see a couple of plays too.
      All my best wishes Benn,

    1. I never studied Shakespeare at school I always wanted to but perhaps it’s better to perform it as a teenager than read it. We studied An Inspector Calls (Priestley), Lord of the Flies (Golding), Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck) and Frankenstein (Shelley) at GCSE instead.
      Best wishes Martin,

    1. I’ve enjoyed making a start with the music. I’ve got myself an interpreting Shakespeare book to help with the text and get the meaning in context so its been a good learning opportunity for me. Thanks very much Liz.
      All my best

    1. I wish I’d studied more Shakespeare because I really don’t have much reading time at all. However, these Shakespeare operas are providing me with an opportunity I haven’t had before which is great Annette.
      All my best wishes

      1. well , “project in the tubs” in french : “projets dans les tubes” reference to the pneumatic tube system in some companies to circulate documents between services.
        projets sur le feu (projrct on fire) reference to coocking) . Projets en route (the project have start and it is on the road) – Projets en cours de maturation (maturation is when juice becoming wine, use for beer too)
        Meilleurs pensées energétiques et créatives pour Toi !!

  2. It sounds like it will Much Ado About Something really spectacular. I’ve seen the play, but not the opera.

  3. What a exciting and busy year you’re having Charlotte.
    Such a variety of things going on, I’m so excited to see and hear,
    What’s next. 😘😘

    1. I love Midsummer Night’s Dream I auditioned for a role in the Benjamin Britten opera with two arias for College. I’d love the chance to sing ‘Tytania’ the Queen of the Fairies.
      All my best wishes Maria,

  4. Wow! I love Shakespeare. I’m so excited that you are playing Hero! Yay!!
    Of course my fave play is Romeo and Juliette, then A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    I’m sure all of his most popular have been made into operas.
    You know, I found a book I had forgotten I own; Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare.
    I bet some of those would make into a wonderful evening of soprano pieces ( and some tenor etc) I am more excited by the soprano voices.
    I bet some of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnets would make great pieces as well.
    I am thrilled for you!!! ❦

    1. I love Romeo and Juliet too Resa, I’m singing Je Veux Vivre, Juliet’s Act 1 aria at Llangollen tomorrow. Hope you get a chance to have a look at your love poems and sonnets again. Thank you so much xox.
      All my best wishes

  5. How wonderful! Willian, Opera, and you! I wish I could be there to see and hear.
    I don’t have a favorite of Williams do you?
    I just used bits of his sonnets in both of my weddings (snickering), and quote favorite lines too, when the situation seems to need to some sort of improvement.

    1. I like Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and I’m getting to know Much Ado about Nothing 😊.
      Lovely idea to use his sonnets in your weddings.
      Shakespeare has some great quotes that I use all the time.
      Best wishes Cindy,

  6. At last. You will be singing in Leeds and I will not be away in Romania for the summer as has been usual. So Morley here I come!
    I was having fun with a singer with Opera North last Saturday – the maid in the photo in my latest post. I wonder if you know her.
    Being arrogant, I think the novella/novel (?) I’m attempting to finish, set in 1960s London, would make a good opera. I wonder if I’d find a composer to take it on.

    1. That’s fabulous Roger that you can try to make the Morley performance, I would love to meet you and Petronella. I’ve not worked with Opera North but that event you went to looks like great fun.
      If I hear of a composer looking for a novella I’ll send them to your blog.
      All my best wishes

  7. I can’t say as I’ve seen Shakespeare set to music yet. Do you think some of your performance will be recorded for us to see?
    That looks like quite a cast you have, even I recognize some names and faces.

    1. I’m not sure if any of the events will be recorded but if they are I’ll ask if I can share them. I was sad at last years Eisteddfod that I didn’t see the video to share of my final performance as the festival usually do record the final. I’ll be very excited to meet everyone at Northern Opera. This next weekend I also get to sing with some of the Fire of Olympus cast as we have a small performance.
      I’m just having a breather between my final preparations phew.
      All my best wishes

  8. What an exciting addition to your already busy and exciting year! I am thrilled for you! I have not seen Shakespeare set to music yet but it seems a natural because of the story lines.
    For me, I would love to see the Tempest set to music. It’s my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays and I was fortunate enough to see a production of it in Stratford-on- Avon some years back. We did a reading when I was in college and I played the role of Caliban, interpreting him as AA Milne’s Eeyore. The result was hilarious.
    Keep having fun and taking us along with you!

    1. I have just seen your comment for some reason it was trapped in the spam folder. You have some interesting suggestions, I love the idea of playing the role of Caliban in the style of Eeyore, I beg you had a great time with that.
      Best wishes

    1. We had a super long journey home yesterday so I was listening to lots of the music I have to perform and sing. Hope you and all your family are well Clare.
      All my best wishes

    1. I think when it comes to matters of love and heartbreak fashions might change but those base emotions don’t :). I hope you’re doing well Eric.
      I was looking at your photo picture last night to calm myself, I’m between homes so it’s at my parents, such a relaxing shot.
      All my best wishes

      1. Oh, right. You still have the Photo Art. So glad it helps in some way. Let me know if you have any favorites. I’m preparing for a Group Art Exhibition in Bristol, UK next month with “Gallery Du 808.” It’s tough to afford the Shipping Cost, but I hope to find a good solution. Cheers! 🙂

      2. I like coiled and coming up for air, did you ever do a colour version of coiled?

    1. I’m so excited for Tuesday and that you’ll both be there is just wonderful. I was sent the running order yesterday and I’m sure you’ll love the gala. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep the night before 🤗.
      Best wishes

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