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Berlioz : Romeo and Juliet


Opera in concert version
  • Saturday October 1st 2022
  • Royal Opera
  • 7pm | 1h35 without intermission
Accueil Berlioz : Romeo and Juliet 2022


Virginie Verrez Mezzo-soprano

Andrew Staples Tenor

Edwin Crossley-Mercer Bass

Chœur de Radio France

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

Daniel Harding Conductor


Berlioz innovated constantly, and a decade after his revolutionary Symphonie Fantastique, the Shakespeare enthusiast created in 1839 a Symphonie dramatique with soloists and choir, on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. It was one of his greatest successes, played all over Europe from Paris to St Petersburg. It began with a cheque for 20,000 francs, a token of admiration received from the great Paganini, who wrote: “Beethoven is dead, only Berlioz can revive him!” Hector was enthusiastic, chose the theme of the eternal lovers, and composed a work that was both lyrical and symphonic, “with an orchestra that represents an opera!” Methodically rehearsing each section of the orchestra and each musical part separately, he obtained an extraordinary result: “The whole orchestra and the choirs rose to their feet with cheers that shook the hall, while the audience applauded wildly!”

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The programme notes summarise the action: fights, commotion, a grand celebration at the Capulets’ house, Romeo’s invocation at the tomb, Juliet’s awakening, delirious joy, and then the final anguish and death of the two lovers… All of Shakespeare can be summed up in these few words, and Berlioz adds the incredible “Scherzo of Queen Mab, Fairy of Dreams” to complete a masterpiece of romanticism.


The Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir perform this standard of French music directed by the prodigious Daniel Harding: the assurance of an evening of dazzling music!


With the exceptionnal support of ADOR – The friends of the Royal Opera


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Dramatic symphony on a libretto by Emile Deschamps, first performed in Paris in 1839.


Concert in French with French and English surtitles

The Royal Opera of the Château de Versailles

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