La Damnation de Faust
dramatic legend for soloists, chorus and orchestra in 4 parts with apotheosis (concert performance)
Music by Hector Berlioz
Libretto by H. Berloz and A. Gandonniere
after G. de Nerval translation of J.W. von Goethe "Faust"
Performed in French
Berlioz` dramatic legend is a musical "confession of the son of the age" – autobiographical, like many of the composer`s works. But this is not an "episode from the artist`s life" as in Symphonie Fantastique, Romeo et Juliette or the opera Benvenuto Cellini. It is the story of the entire life of an unacclaimed genius, furiously confirming his inner self, wild and passionate. Here there is disappointment in love, an attempt to seek solace through travel, and the tortuous search for one`s inner self. It is as if the composer is seeing the finale of his own life, investing its final "episode" in music.
La Damnation de Faust does not fit in the usual genre framework: in terms of the vividness and relief images, the immense four-part symphonic oratorio is closer to the stage theatre genre. Although the composer himself preferred to define the genre of his work using a literary phrase, in essence it is an opera and, possibly, the first opera in the history of music written for the concert stage.