Next Saturday April 9th, at La Maison Symphonique , the FILMharmonique orchestra, under the direction of maestro Francis Choinière, will perform Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique (Fantastical Symphony): it will be followed by Boléro, Ravel’s Spanish-inspired masterpiece.

The Fantastical Symphony is an important piece of the early Romantic period, and it is popular with concert audiences worldwide.

The first performance was at the Paris Conservatoire in December 1830. The work was repeatedly revived between 1831 and 1845 and subsequently became a favourite in Paris.

Greatly influenced by Beethoven, this first symphony testifies to a success and an originality unequaled at the time.

Half-autobiographical, half-fantasy, the symphony is a piece of program music that tells the story of “an artist gifted with a lively imagination” who has “poisoned himself with opium” in the “depths of despair” because of “hopeless love.”

Berlioz provided his own program notes for each of the five movements of his work.

Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique - Classical Music
Berlioz and Harriet Smithson

Anecdotally , Berlioz fell in love with the Irish actress, Harriet Smithson, and penned the symphony as a way to express his unrequited love towards her. At its premiere in Paris on the 5th of December 1830, Harriet was not present. She eventually heard the work in 1832 and realized his artistic genius. The two were finally introduced and were married on the 3rd of October 1833.

However, the marriage bliss was not to last: despite being parents, the couple became increasingly bitter towards each other, which eventually led to their seperation after several years of unhappiness together.


Following the Symphony will be the much recognized Boléro by Ravel, a traditional Andalusian dance whose dynamic rhythm is at its core. This Spanish-inspired masterpiece is among the most famous and popular orchestral works of classical music in the world that helped to cement Ravel’s celebrity upon its creation.

The performance on April 9th at La Maison Symphonique will be quite an event as it will be the only time this season that both these emblematic works will be presented together !

To complete the evening , the FILMharmonic Orchestra will present two other pieces by French composers : Dukas with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice along with excerpts from the magical universe of Harry Potter by Alexandre Desplat.

Boléro & Symphonie Fantastique,
April 9th at 7:30pm, at La Maison Symphonique
A presentation by GFN Productions.

Tickets available : 514 842-2112 or on the site of placedesarts.com