Berlioz was inspired by Goethe’s dramatic poem “Faust”, and the musical work that he produced defies easy categorisation. The composer eventually called it a “legende dramatique” (dramatic legend).
Although Berlioz was eager to see the work staged, most of its fame has come through concert performances. Since its first successful complete performance in Paris in 1877, it has entered the choral repertoire, although the premiere in 1846 did not receive critical acclaim: “Nothing in my career as an artist wounded me more deeply than this unexpected indifference”, he remembered.
For the opening concert of the LSO’s 2017-18 season, new Principal Conductor Simon Rattle leads this colossal work with an impressive cast of soloists: Karen Cargill (Marguerite), Bryan Hymel (Faust), Gerald Finley (Mephistopheles), Florian Boesch (Brander).