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The idea for Symphonie fantastique came from passionate love of its composer Berlioz for Harriet Smithson. He fell under the charms of the Irish actress when she was interpreting great Shakespearean roles of Ophelia and Juliet in 1827. After failing to capture her affections with his letters, he decided to try again with music. He created an autobiographical symphony and declaration of love all rolled into one, and in the process composed one of the first masterpieces of programmatic music! Valery Gergiev leads the London Symphony Orchestra in this performance of the work as part of an exciting program that also includes Berlioz’s Waverley Overture and song cycle Les Nuits d’été.