Programme Details

Les Siècles: BERLIOZ 150
Conductor: Maxime Pascal

On the 150th anniversary of Berlioz's death, Paris-based orchestra Les Siècles brings you two nights of the French composer's passionate and inventive storytelling with 19th century period instruments, including literary-inspired masterpieces such as Symphonie Fantastique and its rarely-performed “sequel” Lélio.



French romanticism revisited with 19th century period instruments

“Wonderfully vivid and crammed with crisp orchestral detail” ★★★★★ The Guardian
“Dazzling” ★★★★★ Bachtrack
“One of the most thriving period-instrument orchestras that have sprung up in France” The Sunday Times 

Composer, conductor and critic, Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) fully embodied French romanticism with his free spirit and boundless imagination for exploring unconventional sounds, forms and ideals. 

On the 150th anniversary of his death, François-Xavier Roth's Paris-based orchestra Les Siècles brings you two nights of Berlioz’s passionate and inventive storytelling with its authentic 19th century French sound. This multi-award-winning orchestra is renowned for its vast collection of period instruments spanning the baroque, classical, romantic and modern eras, as well as its outstanding young players and audacious programming. 

Their performances at HKAF are bolstered by one of the most exciting and visionary artists of his generation, the 33-year-old conductor Maxime Pascal. Pascal was the first French winner of the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award and has since conducted numerous prestigious European orchestras.

The first night of this all-Berlioz programme pairs the composer’s ground-breaking Symphonie Fantastiquewith its rarely-performed “sequel” Lélio. Both pieces portray the same artist obsessed with fantasies of his beloved; the former akin to a psychedelic musical voyage through Berlioz’s mind and the latter hugely theatrical, with an actor providing narration alongside a tenor, bass, chorus and full orchestra, as if illustrating a sensational tableau vivant.

The second concert includes both overtures and symphonic works with literary inspirations. Berlioz’s glittering imagination is illustrated in his brilliant overture to the opera Benvenuto Cellini and its portrayal of the eponymous Renaissance sculptor, while excerpts of Roméo et Juliette reflect the composer’s profound admiration for Shakespeare. In his second symphony, Harold en Italie, the virtuosic viola – originally written for Paganini – follows the central character’s varied experiences of Italian life as inspired by the poet Byron.




Mar 2
Symphonie Fantastique, Op 14 

Lélio, Op 14b
Tenor: Michael Smallwood
Baritone: René Ramos Premier
Narrator: Daniel Mesguich
Chorus: Die Konzertisten

Mar 3
Carnaval Romain Overture, Op 9

Benvenuto Cellini
 Overture, Op 23

Roméo et Juliette
 (excerpts), Op 17

Harold en Italie, Op 16
Viola: Adrien La Marca

Photo credit

Jean-Pierre Gilson
Guillaume de Sardes



    2 / 3 / 2019  20:00
    3 / 3 / 2019  16:30



    Concert Hall, HK Cultural Centre



    Pre-show in-school workshop (conducted in Cantonese or English) is available for this programme. 
    (Applicable to School Members)