Much Ado About Nothing (opera)

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Much Ado About Nothing is an opera in four acts by Charles Villiers Stanford (his Op. 76a), to a libretto by Julian Sturgis based on Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing. It was the composer's seventh opera.

Performance history[edit]

It premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 30 May 1901, conducted by Luigi Mancinelli, when it was "well, but not rapturously received by the public", and given one further performance four days later.[1] The Manchester Guardian commented, "Not even in the Falstaff of Arrigo Boito and Giuseppe Verdi have the characteristic charm, the ripe and pungent individuality of the original comedy been more sedulously preserved."[2]

The opera was performed in German translation in Leipzig in 1902.[3]

It was revived at the 1964 Wexford Opera Festival in a production directed by Peter Ebert.[4] In 2016 the Northern Opera Group performed extracts from the opera to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.[5]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast,[6] 30 May 1901
(Conductor:Luigi Mancinelli)
Hero soprano Suzanne Adams
Beatrice soprano Marie Brema
Don Pedro, prince of Aragon baritone Ivor Foster
Don John, his bastard brother bass
Claudio tenor John Coates
Benedick baritone David Bispham
Friar bass Pol Plançon
Dogberry bass Robert Blass
Leonato, governor of Messina bass or baritone Putnam Griswold
Borrachio tenor
Seacole tenor


  1. ^ Dibble (2002), p. 333.
  2. ^ "Much Ado About Nothing", The Manchester Guardian, 31 May 1901, p. 5
  3. ^ Dibble (2002), pp. 334-5.
  4. ^ Daly (2004), p. 189.
  5. ^ "Northern Opera Group: Much Ado About Nothing". Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Stanford (1901), p. 17; Anon 1 (1901), p. 473; Dibble (2002) p. 332.

External links[edit]