The Marriage of True Minds

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
22 minutes
Classical music
Voice + keyboard
Instrumental parts
Not available

This operatic sequence, with piano accompaniment, is framed by dialogue - all Shakespeare’s words from a mixture of plays and sonnets - freely arranged by Hilary Spiers. Intended as a staged piece, it can also be performed in concert version.

The plot expands the fraught relationship or "merry war" between the haughty Beatrice and her unwilling lover Benedick, one of the pairs of lovers in Much Ado about Nothing.

The piano accompanist, doubling as Beatrice’s uncle, is also required to act as mediator between the two warring protagonists. There are only a few spoken lines to contribute, and this is surely a rare departure in opera. Much Ado about Nothing was the main source for Hilary’s hybrid play, but there are six borrowed ‘songs’ which interpolate the stage action:

1. Under the Greenwood Tree Amiens’ song As You Like it II.v

2. Come Away Death and 3. O Mistress Mine

The Clown’s song Twelfth Night II, iv + iii

4. Take all my loves, my love a hybrid song from Sonnets XL and CXX and lines from Much Ado About Nothing III. i

5. It was a Lover and his Lass a Page’s song from As You Like Viii

6. Wedding Song from As You Like It, V.iv and parts of Sonnet X and Sonnet CX

page one of The Marriage of True MindsASALTTEXT

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