Lucile Richardot Alto
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner Conductor
Louis-Philippe, 1830-1848: next autumn, a major exhibition will pay tribute to the king who saved the Château de Versailles by turning it into a national museum dedicated to “All the Glories of France”. The 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death in 1869 will be celebrated in 2019; the musician is one of the key figures of Louis-Philippe’s era and illustrates how defining this period was for arts and history in France!
Berlioz belongs to the "Jeune France" generation, who created the "Army of Romantics" around 1830, with the poet Gérard de Nerval, translator of Goethe’s Faust, the writer, journalist and art critic Théophile Gauthier, and above them all, Victor Hugo – romantic and revolutionary – and of course young Hector Berlioz, a generation who confronted (physically!) the artists and writers defending traditional canons at the Comédie Française, in what would be known as the Battle of Hernani, in February 1830! It is also the beginning of the writing of the Human Comedy by young Honoré de Balzac and the year of the publication of Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma.
During the July 1830 revolution, when Louis-Philippe conquered the throne as the citizen king, Berlioz was locked up in the Institut de France competing for the Prix de Rome. He only came out on the last day of the insurrection and did not take part in the fighting. On 19th August, he finally received the long-awaited Prix de Rome: it was his fourth attempt. The Marseillaise sung everywhere since the uprising inspired him a splendid harmony, still famous today. His great project, The Symphonie Fantastique, was first performed in December 1830 to great acclaim, before Berlioz regretfully left for Italy… This masterpiece will be at the heart of John Eliot Gardiner’s concert.
This programme symphony first performed in December 1830 immediately became an icon of musical avant-garde. It deploys an amazing soundscape and carries the audience into a frenzy unprecedented in French orchestral music…
Berlioz then left for Rome and it was only in 1832, when The Symphonie Fantastique was performed again for a major concert, marking a turning point in his career, that Harriet Smithson discovered the work, almost by chance – she had never known that she had inspired it; impressed and fascinated, she fell into the composer’s arms and they married!
Our concert will be completed by works highlighting Berlioz’s orchestral and musical creativity, with the splendid overture of the Corsaire and the cantata La Mort de Cléopâtre: written in 1829 for the Prix de Rome, it did not warrant the prize for the too modern Berlioz. Discover its theatrical creativity interpreted by Lucille Richardot and Gardiner! And finally, two iconic extracts from Berlioz’s masterpiece, his opera Les Troyens (1863): first the Chasse Royale, an orchestral tour de force of Wagnerian dimension, and the sumptuous Mort de Didon, sung by Lucile Richardot.
Back to Versailles: inaugurated in 1837, on Sunday October 29th 1848, the museum planned by Louis-Philippe served as setting for a grand concert in the Opera Royal given by Berlioz, who was by then a central figure in the arts world… The sets designed for the Opera Royal by Ciceri, a “marble palace highlighted in gold”, have been specially restored a hundred and eighty years after their creation, for these Berlioz concerts, underlining the exceptional dynamism of the conquering decades where Louis-Philippe presided over the industrial revolution, the beginnings of the rail and the creation of the Versailles museum!
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
Le Corsaire: Overture
Les Troyens: Chasse Royale et Orage (Royal hunt and Thunderstorm)
Les Troyens: Scene and Didon aria "Ah, je vais mourir... Adieu fière cite" ("Ah, I will die...Farewell proud city")
Symphonie Fantastique op.14
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PRESTIGE CATEGORY: Excellent seats with complimentary glass of champagne and programme.
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