Waltz through a glittering ball, enter a feverish dream, march to your own execution, and spin into dark delirium at a witches’ sabbath. Take on the opium-infused visions of a tortured artist haunted by unrequited passion in this Orchestral Theatre production of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.
Inspired by the composer’s own romantic infatuation with a young actress, this epoch-making work unfolds as a cinematic fantasy full of wild imagination and demonic madness – by turns gorgeous and grotesque.
Aurora Orchestra and actor Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories, Ghosts) invite you to a creative orchestral journey through Berlioz’s hallucinatory tale of ecstasy and despair, passion and obsession. This unique concert interweaves a memorised performance of the Symphonie fantastique with theatrical design, lighting, movement and Berlioz’s own words about his music, alongside a presentation of the work’s musical ideas with live excerpts.
‘The playing had a tremendous zest and, in the quieter passages, a pellucid beauty. Clearly, these musicians had learnt Berlioz’s surreal masterpiece not just by heart, but with heart.’ ★★★★★ The Times
‘The performance was as vivid to the ear as it was to the eye.’ ★★★★ The Guardian
Filmed live at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 12 September 2019.
Free to watch on Aurora’s YouTube channel.
Orchestral Theatre staging concept by Aurora Orchestra. Footage courtesy of BBC Proms.
We are hugely grateful to the New Berlioz Edition Trust for their support of both the initial performance of Fantastique and the online broadcast as part of the Aurora Play series. The production is part of Aurora’s Orchestral Theatre series, which is made possible by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation, and the Aurora Patrons and Friends.
Discover more about our memorised performances at our By Heart page.