Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor
An event that brings together a stellar cast under Esa-Pekka Salonen's baton to perform Berlioz's electrifying choral symphony, Romeo and Juliet. Widely considered to be his most original and dramatic programmatic work, it is a tour de force for orchestra, chorus and soloists. A personal homage to his own heroes Shakespeare and Beethoven, it has been described by the musicologist Donald Tovey as "one of the most gigantic and convincing masterpieces of music-drama" ever written, pushing the limits of the contemporary orchestra's capabilities in terms of colour, programmatic scope and individual virtuosity. Wagner attended its première in 1839 and was deeply affected by it, later presenting Berlioz with the score of his own Tristan und Isolde inscribed with the words: "To the dear and great author of Romeo and Juliet, from the grateful author of Tristan and Isolde."