Béatrice et Bénédict (Beatrice and Benedict) is a comic opera in two acts by Hector Berlioz. The French libretto was written by Berlioz himself, based loosely on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. It was first performed at the Theater der Stadt, Baden-Baden on August 9, 1862.
Berlioz completed the score to the work between the completion and production of his magnum opus, the monumental opera Les Troyens. Shortly after its successful premiere in Baden, Berlioz conducted the first two performances of a German version in Weimar, where he was "overwhelmed by all sorts of kind attention," as he recorded in his memoirs.
Béatrice et Bénédict is infrequently performed and never became part of the standard operatic repertoire. There are several recordings of the opera, and the overture is frequently heard on the symphonic concert stage.
Don Pedro's victory over the moors is celebrated by all of Sicily. Héro awaits the return of her fiancé, Claudio. Béatrice inquires about and scorns Bénédict. They trade insults and tease each other. Bénédict swears to his friends that he will never marry. Later, Claudio and Pedro scheme to trick Bénédict into marrying Béatrice. Knowing that he is listening, Léonato assures Pedro that Béatrice loves Bénédict. Bénédict decides to pursue her. Héro plays a similar trick on Béatrice. Héro is overwhelmed by her own happiness.
Béatrice falls in love with Bénédict, but refuses to admit it to Héro. Reluctantly, Bénédict agrees to marry Béatrice. Héro and Claudio marry.