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10 things to know about 'Much Ado About Nothing'


1) 'Much Ado About Nothing' premiered at the Royal Opera House in 1901, and the production contained “many charming stage pictures” (according to the New York Times) and The Manchester Guardian reported that "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) Other 1901 operatic premieres included Richard Strauss’ 'Feuersnot' and Dvorák’s 'Rusalka'.


3) Though a keen opera composer, Stanford’s operas are far less well known than his choral compositions. His other operas include 'The Critic' and 'The Travelling Companion' (which are both well worth exploring further!)


4) The last major production of 'Much Ado About Nothing' was in 1964 at Wexford Festival Opera, directed by Peter Ebert.


5) Charles Villiers Stanford has extensive connections to Leeds - he was the Conductor of Leeds Festival and Leeds Philharmonic Chorus (which is still going strong today) and Stanford obtained an honorary doctorate from the University of Leeds.


6) Librettist Julian Sturgis was born in America, and in 1873 became the first non-UK national to play in an FA Cup final!


7) Sturgis was also a qualified barrister, and wrote the libretto for Sir Arthur Sullivan's 'Ivanhoe'.


8) There aren’t many operatic adaptations of 'Much Ado About Nothing' - the most famous is Berlioz’s 'Beatrice et Benedict' which premiered in 1862. Glyndebourne are producing the opera this year, and you can watch the production for free online on 9 August.


9) There are no recordings of Stanford’s opera, however you can download the score from the ever wonderful IMSLP.


10) Stanford’s legacy is preserved by The Stanford Society, who are supporting our production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'.


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Charles Villiers Stanford


Julian Sturgis