National Symphony Orchestra: Beyond the Score: Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique
Friday, January 16, 2015, 8:00 PM

For aficionados and newcomers alike, this concert uses actors, narration, music excerpts, and projected visuals to share captivating stories behind Berlioz's masterful symphony, followed by a full performance of the work.

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About

"The impression made on my heart and mind by her extraordinary talent... Nay... her dramatic genius!... was equaled only by the havoc wrought within me by the poet she so nobly interpreted," wrote Hector Berlioz of his first encounter with Irish actress Harriet Smithson, a stunning ingénue whose performance as Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet left him utterly infatuated.
 
From that moment forth, the young composer was obsessed with attracting her attention. Thus began Berlioz's own labor of love: the extraordinary Symphonie fantastique. Incorporating themes from music and literature ranging from Goethe's Faust to Dies irae, the ancient chant of the dead, Berlioz's symphonic melodrama charted the ecstasy and woe of a lovesick artist pining after his unattainable Beloved. Through the storied work's sheer agony, vulnerability, and electrifying orchestral power, Berlioz evokes pastoral scenes of waltzing at a ball and frolicking through fields before passions turn with a march to the guillotine and the famous bacchanalian "Dream of the Witches' Sabbath." The imaginative score cemented his artistic reputation and earned a number of ardent admirers--including Harriet Smithson herself.

For aficionados and newcomers alike, this concert uses actors, narration, music excerpts, and projected visuals to share captivating stories behind Berlioz's masterful symphony, followed by a complete performance of the work.

Performance Timing: Part One - 60 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 60 min.

NOTE: There is NO late seating until intermission.

Images


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All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.