Bastille Day French Festival: Fantastique! The Life and Loves of Hector Berlioz
Time & Location
About the Event
written by Karen Van Spall and Lucy Esdaile
We may think we know everything there is about a major musical figure, but the information we base this on usually comes from just a handful of standard sources. At The Parlour we’re interested in the other viewpoints. If you really want to know what a composer was like, ask his landlord, his housekeeper or his ex-wife! Our shows are hybrid performances, a combination of song recital and semi-staged play. Singers and pianists form The Parlour’s core, but we also have writers, directors and actors in our team. We want to tell these stories and we guarantee you’ll want to hear them!
Hector Berlioz was a giant figure on the 19th century’s musical landscape. Probably best known for his opium induced, epic ‘program’ symphony, the Symphonie Fantastique. Conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein said of the work: “Berlioz tells it like it is – you take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral”. Berlioz’s songs are no less evocative, provoking, haunting and yet charming.
With so many great men of Art, it is the women in their lives who can shine a focused light on their inner world. In Fantastique! The Life and Loves of Hector Berlioz, an actor will assume the character of Marie Recio, opera singer and Berlioz’ second wife. The story she shares begins before they meet and continues after her death. She recalls his passions, substance abuse, murderous plans and betrayals along with his humour, talent and charisma.
The details of the dramatic narrative will be drawn from journal entries, letters, photos, newspaper articles etc and while anchored in fact, is sprinkled liberally with supposition.
This new show is the fifth for The Parlour’s creative team and follows the critically acclaimed, sold-out success of Clara’s Party and She and He – My Life with Chopin.
“If you like culture, history and beautiful music, you should definitely keep this production on your watch list” - Weekend Notes 6/7/2019
Selections from Le Nuit D’ete Op. 7 and Légende Iralandaise Op. 2. The magnificent and poignant La mort d’Ophelie op 12/11, Piano solos by Liszt based on Berlioz’ symphonic works and more. Songs in original language, narration in English
Melanie Hillman (Actor) Karen Van Spall (Mezzo Soprano) Adam Miller (Baritone) Coady Green (Pianist)