A Song of Passion and Delirium at the SF Symphony

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in a performance of 'Symphonie Fantastique' by Berlioz

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in a performance of 'Symphonie Fantastique' by Berlioz. (Photo: Stefan Cohen/SF Symphony)

Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique is a kind of frenzied valentine to an Irish actress he’d fallen in love with. Brokenhearted at the way she ignored his letters, he took a hefty dose of opium, and the music displays the brilliance of his passion and his opiated delirium. It’s performed by the San Francisco Symphony on Sept. 28, 30, and Oct. 1 at Davies Symphony Hall.

As my co-host Matias Tarnopolsky notes, SF Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas has conducted this psychedelic love song since his days leading the London Symphony Orchestra, and he knows just how to make it hum (and he knows how to talk about it, as he often does from the podium, and in his PBS Keeping Score TV series below). And about that frenzied valentine? Six years after Berlioz composed Symphonie Fantastique, he married the object of his desire, Irish actress Harriet Smithson. Details here.

A Song of Passion and Delirium at the SF Symphony 27 September,2017Cy Musiker

Author

Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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