Berlioz's "dramatic symphony" Roméo et Juliette is regarded by many as his finest work; it is certainly among the most original. This book summarizes the complex genesis of the work before examining the music closely and always with a view to understanding its dramatic implications. Julian Rushton quotes and discusses the early and later critical reception and concludes by suggesting a way of hearing the work that recognizes the value of its mixed genre. The complete libretto is provided in both English and French.
List of abbreviations and acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. The genesis of Roméo et Juliette; 3. Berlioz, Shakespeare and Garrick; 4. Exordium: Introduction and Prologue; Roméo seul; 5. The heart of the matter: Scène d'amour; La reine Mab; 6. Tragedy and reconciliation: Convoi funébre; Roméo au tombeau; Finale; 7. A view from 1839 by Stephen Heller; 8. Performance and reception: 1839 and beyond; 9. Afterword: Roméo et Juliette as covert opera; Appendices; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.