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Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Presents Two Works by Berlioz, Taking its Audience on a Spiritual Journey

Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Presents Two Works by Berlioz, Taking its Audience on a Spiritual Journey

Narrator, Two Soloists, and DPO Chorus featured in Rare Two-Part Performance of Symphonie fantastique and Lélio

Communications & Media Manager

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x 1138

DAYTON, OH (October 29, 2014) – On Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15 at 8 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present Berlioz: Master of Fantasy, the third concert in the Premier Health 2014-2015 Classical Series.  Tenor David Portillo and baritone Kenneth Stavert return to the Mead Theatre stage to lend their rich voices to Berlioz’s exquisite music, accompanied by the Dayton Philharmonic Chorus under the leadership of Chorus Director Hank Dahlman.  Dayton Opera favorite Gary Briggle also returns as the narrator, weaving Berlioz’s tale of obsessive love from torturous nightmare to dreamlike reality. 

Unlike most symphonies, Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, otherwise known as Fantastic Symphony: An Episode in the Life of an Artist, has a five-part construct, rather than the standard four-part. It begins with the musical depiction of an artist falling in love with a woman he’s seen for only the first time, and she completely possesses his passions. According to Berlioz’s own program notes, the first movement depicts his transition from a “state of dreamy melancholy, interrupted by occasional upsurges of aimless joy, to delirious passion, with its outbursts of fury and jealousy, its returns of tenderness, its tears, its religious consolations.” In the second movement we hear the “…tumult of a festive party…the peaceful contemplation of the beautiful sights of nature, which everywhere…the beloved image keeps haunting him and throws his spirit into confusion.” The third movement depicts the artist “…disturbed by dark premonitions.” In the fourth movement an overdose of opium leads the man to dream that he has killed his beloved and is summarily being executed by beheading. In the final movement “he sees himself at a witches’ sabbath…for his funeral. The funeral knell tolls, (a) burlesque parody of the Dies irae…” combined with the dance of the witches.

Fantastic, indeed, and great listening as well.

Lélio, or the Return to Life, which incorporates music and spoken text, is Hector Berlioz’s intended sequel to Symphonie fantastique.  Maestro Gittleman and the DPO present concertgoers with a rare treat with this piece, seldom performed live. In Lélio, the artist has awakened from the opium-induced dreams to no girl and a miserably sad life. Since he can’t seem to forget her, he decides to drown himself in musical composition, and as the story ends, he serenely conducts an orchestra as it performs one of his newly composed musical works.

The two performances of Berlioz: Master of Fantasy on November 14 and 15 are two of the Lucky 13 performance dates that comprise Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s Mostly Ghostly Festival this autumn.  As a special offer, theatergoers can enjoy any 6 tickets for performances from the Mostly Ghostly Lucky 13 performance dates for just $99. 

Tickets for Berlioz: Master of Fantasy are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit


About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.  The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is proud to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.
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