Hector Berlioz is perhaps the most romantic of the romantics. His continuously changing moods split the traditional symphony orchestra into countless divisions, and his idealistic longing faded the borders between symphony, opera and oratoria. No wonder that this revolutionary expression gained little appreciation in its own time. The public of that age had barely overcome Beethoven's innovations. Reciprocally, Berlioz resented the audience and its conventions of the prevailing concert practice. In one of his writings, Berlioz dreamed of a Utopian city called Euphonia, in which commerce was banned and the arts stood at the centre of civilisation.
It wasn't until after his death that Berlioz gained the recognition he deserves. The most music lovers will know Berlioz from his Symphonie Fantastique, in which he portrayed several opium visions. With this out of control 'bad trip', he tried to win over the famous Shakespeare actress Harriet Smithson. Some other highlights of his career are his epic opera La Damnation de Faust, his symphony Roméo et Juliette, his Requiem and the opera Les Troyens.