Romeo & Juliet
Chœur de l'Orchestre de Paris
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 17
Berlioz’ extravagant vision and genius is particularly well attuned to the power of that of Shakespeare. His great dramatic symphonic work Roméo et Juliette is dedicated to his friend Paganini, whose generosity allowed Berlioz to compose for a plethora of musicians, a large choir and three vocalists. In fact, writing this third symphony, Berlioz was inspired by the Ninth Symphony of his hero Beethoven, who had reinvented the format twenty years earlier.
The premiere was one of the rare successes of his Parisian career, and the whole city attended the event. Amongst the audience was Richard Wagner, so impressed that he declared he felt like “a schoolboy” in comparison to Berlioz.