• Stephen Oliver
  • Beauty and the Beast (1984)
    (Bella e La Bestia)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • fl(pic)cl(Ebcl)/tpt/gtr(bjo.ebgtr)/2perc/pf(bowedpsaltery.hurdy-gurdy.syn)
  • Baritone, 2 Mezzo sopranos, 2 Sopranos, Bass Baritone
  • 1 hr 20 min
  • From Mme de Villeneuve's adaptation of the story by Mme Leprince de Beaumont
  • English, Italian

Programme Note


An impoverished merchant’s ship arrives in port with a rich cargo. The merchant’s two eldest daughters beg for new dresses, while his favourite youngest daughter, Beauty, asks only for a rose. Soon after, the Merchant loses everything in a lawsuit. Caught in a forest on the way home during a storm he is sheltered in the Beast’s estate. Before leaving, he plucks a rose for Beauty. The Beast challenges him and insists that he send one of his daughters to die in his place. Beauty lives a quiet life with the Beast, each night refusing to marry him, but pitying him. Beast allows her to visit her ailing father. When she returns later than the seven days the Beast had allowed, she finds him dying of a broken heart.

The Younger Sister - coloratura soprano
The Eldest Sister - mezzo soprano
Beauty - mezzo soprano
The Fairy – soprano
The Beast – baritone
The Merchant – bass-baritone


A letter is delivered to an impoverished merchant, announcing the arrival in port of a ship carrying a rich cargo that is known to be his. His two elder daughters beg him to bring them new outfits from the city. Beauty, his youngest daughter, asks for a rose.

The merchant loses everything in a lawsuit. Returning home through the forest, he loses his way in the storm and takes refuge in a mysterious and deserted place. Next morning, he plucks a rose to take home to Beauty and is confronted by the Beast who spares his life only on condition that he will send one of his daughters to die in his place. Beauty volunteers and her father leaves her at the palace, "half-dead with fear”.

Three months later, Beauty is living quietly in the Beast’s demesne. Every night the half-man, half-beast asks her to marry him. Every night she refuses him, though she pities his predicament. From the kindness of his heart he allows Beauty to to visit her ailing father, exacting from her a promise to return in seven days The promise is soon forgotten until Beauty is reminded of the beast in a dream – he is dying from a broken heart. When Beauty returns, she finds him in his garden, and assures him that she loves him enough to marry him. To her amazement, the beast is released from his enchantment and becomes a prince.