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Berlioz: The Damnation of Faust

Tuesday November 6th 2018
8 pm | 2h30 with intermission


Mathias Vidal Faust
Anna Caterina Antonacci Marguerite
Nicolas Courjal Méphistophélès
Thibault de Damas d'Anlezy Brander

Chœur de l'Armée Française (Conductor Lieutenant-Colonel Aurore Tillac)
Chœur Marguerite Louise (Conductor Gaétan Jarry)
Les Siècles
François-Xavier Roth Conductor


The fate of some works seems suspended in time. Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust is a visionary project which took decades to develop and be acknowledged as a masterpiece. When Berlioz read Goethe’s Faust, his youthful passion (he was twenty-five) inspired him Huit Scènes de Faust in 1828, which he sent to Goethe. The latter did not respond and Berlioz set his Faust aside (published in 1829, as his opus 1), and moved on to other projects.

He only came back to this score two decades later, planning to turn it into a large scale project by developing a libretto which makes it (almost) a real opera: a “theatrical legend” created at the Opéra Comique in December 1846. Unfortunately, the Parisian public’s reception was hostile. Out of resentment, Berlioz never had the work performed in Paris again, it was played all over Europe and met with the success that France would only grant the composer after his death. On May 18th 1877, La Damnation was revived on the same day by two rivals, Edouard Colonne and Jules Pasdeloup! The Concerts Colonne performed it a hundred and seventy-two times before the World War I, an unprecedented success…

Today it is an iconic work, with many memorable anthology pieces for orchestra, choir and soloists. 

François-Xavier Roth is a French conductor with an exceptional career with his own orchestra Les Siècles, the Gürzenich Orchester in Cologne and the London Symphony Orchestra. A former assistant of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s, he  also has a passion for Berlioz and the “French” sound. His interpretation of La Damnation de Faust in concert version (as in the 1846 performance) gives us the opportunity to hear this work with the strength and audacity of the young Berlioz: a powerful and dark masterpiece.


This concert is made possible by a generous support from the ADOR, the Friends of the Royal Opera.


Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
The Damnation of Faust
Dramatic legend in four parts

Exceptionally, Louis Philippe and Versailles exhibition will be open to Opera's spectators upon presentation of their ticket. Access from 7 pm. 


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"D'amour l'ardente flamme", extract from The Damnation de Faust by Berlioz - Anna Caterina Antonacci (conductor François-Xavier Roth)

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Exceptionally, Louis Philippe and Versailles exhibition will be open to Opera's spectators upon presentation of their ticket. Access from 7 pm. 


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