Beatrice and Benedict, 2017
 

Auditions

Auditions will be held at The Crypt, St Michaels Church, Broad St. Bath (opposite Waitrose) from 7pm on Wednesday 22nd June. Please read on for more details, including general notes, character descriptions and the audition pieces to prepare.

Production week commences February 13th 2017 with performances at The Wroughton Theatre, King Edward's School, North Road, Bath on February 16th, 17th, and 18th 2017.

Award winning Bath Opera strives to perform fully staged operas to a professional standard but as a registered charity is unable to pay fees or expenses to its members.

Bath Opera has an 'open audition' policy for principal roles which sees candidates perform in front of a panel and other candidates auditioning. We welcome warmly new singers to audition for our productions upon payment of a non-returnable audition fee of 20 for non members. Successful candidates are required to become members and pay the subscription fee (currently 90/ 45 students) minus the audition fee. You will be expected to fill in a form giving contact details and dates of other commitments that might prevent you from attending Bath Opera rehearsals. Principal rehearsals are held Sunday mornings at a private address on the Eastern outskirts of Bath and full company rehearsals commencing in September are on Wednesday evenings at Widcombe Junior School, Pulteney Road, Bath. BA2 4JG.

Please advise the chairman, Jane Clark, if you intend to audition BEFORE the audition date of June 22nd on or telephone 01935 425 689.

Notes for Auditionees from the Director, Neil Kirkman

Principal rehearsals will mainly be held on Sunday mornings from September onwards, plus some Wednesday evenings (the way that the score is written means that I can construct a rehearsal schedule which will be very efficient with people's time and you will not be called for every rehearsal)

This is quite a strange work and I suspect difficult to bring off well which is perhaps why it is not done as often as the music deserves.

Although based on Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing, the strongest dramatic element within this play has been completely cut out of the opera which leaves it floundering a bit... it risks being all Nothing and very little Ado !!

Its second problem for an opera company is that there is loads and loads of dialogue linking the relatively few but long musical numbers (some of the arias are 8/9 mins long!)

I have rewritten the dialogue to shorten it considerably from over 25 minutes in total to about 12 minutes and hopefully make it easily comprehensible for our audience. However it is still dramatically a bit thin which I can't do anything about and so the chemistry between all the protagonists and the ability to hold the audience's attention is going to be vital to carry the performance.

Good singers will have no difficulties with the music which is beautifully written for the voice but many of the characters will have to display good acting techniques as well. This will be a feature of the auditions which will include both singing and dialogue.

The story is that two guys come back from the war and they are matched by two girls. One couple smoothly and quickly progress towards marriage the other two argue and bicker until their heads are banged together with a bit of gentle intrigue and they end up married as well... and as a story that's about it.

Characters

Beatrice

Soprano or lyric mezzo (range up to B)

Fiery, temperamental, stubborn...possibly a bit of a tomboy. Certainly appears very independent and confident of herself but this proves to be at least a show.

Benedict

Tenor (needs great flexibility up to top B)

Bit of a lad, a maverick, cocky, sure of himself... needs to have a bit of swagger... but there is a romantic lurking underneath

Hero

Soprano (up to top B. Both long sustained line as well as fireworks and quite high tessitura - has just as much to do as Beatrice)

Softer, more contemplative more accepting of the norm and to go along with what's expected

Claudio

Baritone (ensemble and trio only)

Also a returning soldier but more of the 'aide de camp' sort. Will play by the book and rise through the ranks to a staff position

Somarone

Bass up to F - a buffo role

Somarone is an interesting character who has been put into the opera to replace the comic 'policeman' in the play. He is the local poet and choir master who composes dreadful, grotesque pieces for the weddings ...spoof high art, so he provides a lot of humour which I will want to play up as much as possible. For Archer's fans he is Linda Snell to a tee. As he is choirmaster it would be very useful if he could conduct the choir in a believable way.

Ursula

Mezzo/alto low G up to F duets and trios with long sustained lyrical lines

She's Hero's companion and an important foil for her. I'd like to play her that she's been round the block a few times and is very worldy wise

Don Pedro

Bass Baritone Ensemble and Trio

Army General. A good egg who is instrumental in bringing the couples together. Must command respect but have a twinkle in his eye.

Leonato

Speaking role only plus ensemble but could be an acting role

Important driver of the plot as Hero's Father and Beatrice's uncle

Music Audition Pieces

(depending on numbers and timing we may not get through all of every audition piece)

Beatrice (corrected 14/05/16) Aria 192 to E on 194 then 200 to the end
Duet page 54 - D on 58
Beatrice's Aria (PDF)
Duet with Benedict, pages 54 to 58 (PDF)
Benedict Aria starting at E page 132 to 137
Duet page 54 - D on 58
Trio from B on 78 to end 92
Benedict's Aria (PDF)
Benedict's Duet and Trio (PDF)
Hero (corrected 14/05/16) Aria pages 41 to 53
Duet page 147 - 151
Hero's Aria (PDF)
Duet with Ursula, pages 147 to 151 (PDF)
Ursula Duet page 147-151
Ursula's Music (PDF)
Claudio and Don Pedro Trio from B on 78 to end 92
Claudio and Don Pedro's Music (PDF)
Somarone Page 158 - 173
Somarone's Music (PDF)

Dialogue Audition Pieces

Revised dialogue (PDF)
Revised dialogue (Large Print PDF)

Act 1 scene 7 up to the duet Leonato, Don Pedro. Beatrice, Benedict ,Claudio
Act 1 scene 11 up to 2nd sing through of the Epithalame Somarone,Benedict, Don Pedro, Claudio
Then pick up from the entry of Leonato through to exit of Beatrice Leonato, Don P, Claudio, Benedict and Beatrice
Act 1 scene 14 Hero, Ursula
Act 2 scene 3 through to withdrawal of Benedict Hero, Ursula, Beatrice then Benedict

I hope the above is helpful for you to consider auditioning. Do contact me if you have any specific queries. As the scores are not easily available we will scan all the relevant pages with word changes etc and post with the dialogue on the Bath Opera website by the end of April at the latest.

Neil Kirkman

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