Some works are so singular, that they only refer to themselves. They are often in this portrait metaphorical (or hollow) of their author. Rarely an artist has as much invested, involved, but also revealed that Hector Berlioz, in his Damnation of Faust.

This hybrid, at once a composite and a perfect balance, is a room without precursors or successors. The musician teases the opera without really dive in, but turns back to the static of the oratorio, but not dispose of it. Impossible Berlioz, who has always wanted to do it alone!

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France sulks Berlioz, this genius is singular, it does little. It will take even many international performances for “Damnation” makes a triumphant return to his homeland

It was during a long trip through Europe that the musician dauphinois has developed this piece that remains one of his greatest achievements. We are in the middle of the Nineteenth century and, as a whole generation of romantics, he was struck by the Faust of Goethe in the translation of Gérard de Nerval. Eighteen years earlier, in 1828, he had already tried to put in music “eight scenes from Faust” and had even sent the old Goethe. Las, the dedication remained a dead letter, and Berlioz had made route elsewhere. But we are in 1846, and the artist is back in this exciting vessel of the demon.

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Genius singular

The work is premiered at the Opéra-Comique in the month of December, in the most complete indifference, and in front of an audience sparse, that does not help much on the finances of Berlioz. As so often, France pouts this genius is singular, it does little. It will even be necessary to have many performances abroad (in Germany, Russia, and especially in England, land of asylum of the corpus berliozien, who has contributed much to its rediscovery), so that Damnation to make a triumphant return to his homeland.

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Since, this partition of the countless “hits” (“Hungarian March,” the “Ballet des sylphes”, the “Menuet des follets”, the “Song of the flea”, etc) is the honey of the music lovers, always fascinated to discover new treasures. Attempts are also often put in scene, with joys and contrasting: you remember, in 2015, this frightening production at the Bastille, signed by a designer of the Latvian, where the unfortunate Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel were left to fend for themselves in a setting inept?

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fortunately, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death (in 1869), his work returns us to the Philharmonie de Paris in its original format, without the tinsel of the stage. The national Orchestra of France, the Choir and the Maîtrise de Radio France will be placed under the direction of the controversial Charles Dutoit, who replaces Emmanuel Krivine. As for the plateau voice, it will be very international: the Faust of John Osborne, the Mephisto of Nahuel Di Pierro and the Margaret of the beautiful Kate Lindsey. And now, in addition to the underworld!

“The Damnation of Faust”. Philharmonie de Paris, grande salle Pierre-Boulez 221, avenue Jean-Jaurès (Xix). Tel.: 01 44 84 44 84. Date:3 feb. 19 h.-Seat: 10 to 90 €.