John Eliot Gardiner conducts Berlioz — With Lucile Richardot

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

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Lucile Richardot — Mezzo-soprano

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique — Orchestra

Sir John Eliot Gardiner — Conductor

Program notes

The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the conductor John Eliot Gardiner present a concert dedicated to Hector Berlioz’s most passionate works!

The Royal Opera of Versailles warms up with the overture of Le Corsaire, which narrates the daring adventures of a pirate and his lover, a sultan’s concubine. The mythical and exotic atmosphere continues with The Death of Cleopatra, in which the marvelous mezzo Lucile Richardot mourns her murdered lover, Julius Caesar. Then, another queen of the ancient world takes the spotlight: the legendary and tragic Dido of the Aeneid. In her tearful aria, she sings a swan song of betrayal by Aeneas, Trojan hero and son of Venus, before ascending the flaming pyre.

The torment of unrequited love is also Symphonie Fantastique’s main theme, an emblematic example of program music. In it, Berlioz describes his meeting with the actress Harriet Smithson, who is presented at the center of a wild hallucination of extravagant dances, demonic rituals, and even an execution. It’s really no wonder the Russian novelist Bulgakov named  character after Berlioz for his masterpiece The Master and Margarita!

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

More info