MTT conducts Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet

Buy Tickets

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

2016-17 SeasonBerlioz’s interpretation of the world’s greatest romance brings the star-crossed lovers into the very fabric of the orchestra, with the warring families represented by the Grammy Award-winning SF Symphony Chorus. Internationally acclaimed opera singers Luca Pisaroni, Nicholas Phan, and Sasha Cooke complete the cast to bring Shakespeare’s tragedy to life like you’ve never experienced it before, all led by Michael Tilson Thomas.

Floor seats start at $39*.

These concerts, a part of The Barbro and Bernard Osher Masterworks Series, are made possible by a generous gift from Barbro and Bernard Osher.

*Subject to availability.




Roméo et Juliette

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.


Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet

At a Glance

No symphonic composer of Berlioz’s generation could ignore Beethoven. His Ninth was a redefinition of "symphony," an inspiration to young musicians—often an all but fatally paralyzing one—and a daunting challenge. To that challenge, Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette, a “dramatic symphony with choruses, soloists, and a prologue in choral recitative,” was a vigorous response, perhaps the most original, and surely the most poetic.

Roméo et Juliette, Dramatic Symphony, Opus 17  1839/1846 | 95 mins
Berlioz idolized the works of Shakespeare, which the Romantics viewed as reflecting their own esthetics of highly personalized expression. He spent most of 1839 reinterpreting Shakespeare’s play as this dramatic symphony, “something splendid on a grand and original plan, full of passion and imagination,” as he put it.

The work’s seven parts depict or refer to selected scenes from Shakespeare’s tale of fair Verona—or, better put, they express the composer’s representation of the emotions involved. The first is the Prologue, and the last three comprise Juliet's funeral procession, the scene of Romeo in the Capulets’ tomb and Juliet's awakening, and the finale (which Berlioz admitted willingly that it fell "into the realm of opera or oratorio"). The rest of the work consists of three large orchestral movements. The introductory music depicts the warring households of the Montagues and Capulets, and ends with the entry of the Prince of Verona, who orders the families to keep peace, on pain of death.

DID YOU KNOW? The Love Scene begins with the offstage voices of the young people making their way home through the moonlit night after the Capulets' ball. The ardor of its melodies, the delicacy of coloration, the finesse of poetic detail make it a love scene like no other in music. Then, as if a curtain is drawn aside, we at once look back on and find ourselves in the midst of the brilliant festivities at the Capulets’ palace.

Jeanette Yu is Director of Publications at the San Francisco Symphony.





Buy Tickets

  1. Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  2. Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  3. Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  4. Sat, Jul 1, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Pre- and post-show Events

Inside Music, an informative talk by Elizabeth Seitz, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders. Learn More.