SummerScape 2024 • On Sale Now!

Bard Music Festival

Program One • Staging the Musical Imagination

August 9

Add to Calendar2024-08-09 7:00 pm2024-08-09 7:00 pmEDTProgram One • Staging the Musical ImaginationFisher Center, Sosnoff Theater,
Loading Events

Program One launches the festival with the rare opportunity to hear Berlioz’s most famous work as he intended: paired with its little-known sequel. Written just three years after Beethoven’s death, the Symphonie fantastique revolutionized the symphonic form for the Romantic age. Through its detailed, semi-autobiographical program note; its unifying and mutating principal theme, or idée fixe; and vast forces that include instruments previously confined to the opera house, Berlioz took the genre to a newly theatrical realm to chronicle the unrequited love that drove him to visions of suicide, murder, and gothic horror.

Pathbreaking, of seminal importance, and enduringly popular, the symphony nonetheless finds its “conclusion and complement” in Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie, its seldom-programmed sequel. Featuring spoken monologues, vocal soloists, mixed chorus, and a conclusion inspired by The Tempest, this boldly experimental, genre-defying work revisits the story and idée fixe of Berlioz’s symphony, recounting the artist’s “return to life” through his love of literature and music.


7 pm • Performance with commentary by Leon Botstein, with Joshua Blue, tenor; Alfred Walker, baritone; Bard Festival Chorale and James Bagwell, choral director; and The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Hector Berlioz (1803–69)

Symphonie fantastique: Episode de la vie d’un artiste, Op. 14 (1830)

Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie, monodrame lyrique, Op. 14b (1831–32, rev. 1855)

Plan Your Visit