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Symphony in 60: Symphonie Fantastique Kicks Off 2018/19 Richmond Symphony Season

September 7, 2018

Symphony in 60: Symphonie Fantastique Kicks Off 2018/19 Richmond Symphony Season

September 7, 2018 – Richmond, VA: The first Symphony in 60 concert of the 2018/19 season will feature the Richmond Symphony led by conductor Steven Smith, performing Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique on Thursday, September 20 at 6:30pm. The concert will be held in the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

When the twenty-one year old Hector Berlioz arrived in Paris from the provincial town of La Côte, he was as starry-eyed as any other young man newly arriving in the big city. Quickly abandoning his original plans for a medical career, Berlioz embraced the Parisian arts scene. After seeing the English actress Harriet Smithson play the role of Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he became captivated and obsessed with her. He did everything in his power to meet Miss Smithson, initially to no avail, but he ultimately won her heart; they were married in 1833 and they had a child together. Berlioz played the role of the lovesick artist, and conjured up his Symphonie fantastique.

This symphony tells a partly autobiographical story; a single melodic idea that represents his “Beloved One” ties each of the five movements together. Berlioz insisted that knowing the story was essential to understanding the work; a young musician of an overly sensitive nature, endowed with a vivid imagination, has poisoned himself with opium in a fit of lovesick despair. The musician is thrust into a world of his own imaginings. Through the five movements of the piece he experiences emotional tumults, delusional visions, and murderous obsession, eventually killing the love whom he seeks. In the final movement, the Beloved melody is heard again, but it has lost its shy and noble character; it has become a vulgar, trivial, grotesque dance tune.

The Symphony in 60 series consists of hour-long programs that offer accessible commentary about orchestral works from music director Steven Smith. Audience members will learn behind the scenes information about the music, experiencing it in an entirely personal way. Afterward, patrons are invited to an exclusive happy hour with Symphony musicians at Maya Downtown, the Symphony’s proud post-concert happy hour partner.
Adult tickets for Symphony in 60 performances start at $15, College student single tickets are $5, and Child tickets are free for ages 18 and under. Purchase tickets online at richmondsymphony.com or by calling 1.800.514.ETIX. For the 2018/19 season the Richmond Symphony will extend free Orchestra level tickets to active members of the military, made possible through generous support from Dominion Energy. Active military members have access to two (2) free tickets to any Symphony in 60 concert (2 concerts). Click here for more information: https://www.richmondsymphony.com/ticketing/active-duty-military-tickets/.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 6:30 PM
Richmond Symphony

Symphony in 60

Steven Smith, conductor




Symphonie fantastique, Opus 14

I. Reveries and Passions: Largo – Allegro agitato e

appassionato assai

II. A Ball: Waltz – Allegro non troppo

III. In the Country: Adagio

IV. March to the Scaffold: Allegretto non troppo

V. Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath: Larghetto – Allegro



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About the Richmond Symphony
Kicking off its 61st Season in September 2018, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 55,000 students and teachers each year. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more information.


Erin Frye
Marketing and PR Manager
p. 804.788.4717 ext. 121
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Scott Dodson
Director of Advancement and Patron Communications
p. 804.788.4717 ext. 120
e. sdodson@richmondsymphony.com