Berlioz Harold in Italy with Dana Zemtsov

Sun 14 Jan, 7.30pm
Queen Elizabeth Hall
Classical music
From £15
past event
past event
Dana Zemtsov  at on a white bench balancing a violin on her ankles
Marco Borggreve

A dazzling evening of French orchestral music starring viola virtuoso Dana Zemtsov and Bath Festival Orchestra, an energetic ensemble of young, professional orchestral players.

First on the programme is an elegant and dramatic overture by Louise Farrenc, influenced by the fashion for opera in Paris in the 1830s. Not one to let the fact that she was a woman stop her, Farrenc was a trailblazer on the 19th-century Parisian music scene. As well as being an extraordinary pianist and in-demand teacher, she was an admired composer, with Berlioz himself commenting on ‘the magic of her musical palette’.

The centrepiece of the evening is Berlioz's Harold in Italy. Filled with beautiful melodies and joyous dances, the piece is inspired by the composer’s own travels in Italy and Lord Byron’s poem Childe Harold. If the viola was a Hollywood movie star, this would be the piece that took it from supporting role stalwart to best actor in a leading role.

Viola soloist Dana Zemtsov, with her ‘powerful tone and compelling narrative power’ (NRC Daily) comes from a long line of viola virtuosos and brings to life the character of Harold, a restless and disillusioned antihero on a quest to rediscover pleasure and purpose.

After all that romantic drama, Poulenc’s fun, refreshing Sinfonietta closes the night. It's happy music written by a man who was living his best life, having thrown off the shackles of parental expectation.

  • Bath Festival Orchestra
  • Peter Manning conductor
  • Dana Zemtsov viola
  • Farrenc: Overture No.1 in E minor, Op.23 *
  • Berlioz: Harold en Italie, Op.16
  • Interval
  • Poulenc: Sinfonietta

Need to know

Queen Elizabeth Hall at 6.15pm: pre-concert talk. Broadcaster Donald Mcleod, Peter Manning and poet Fiona Sampson MBE explore the Romantic hero in the work of Berlioz and Lord Byron, and examine the female voice in 19th-century music and literature. Admission free with concert ticket.

* Please note change to repertoire from originally advertised.

Dates & times

Sun 14 Jan, 7.30pm
Approximate run time: 1 hour 55 mins.
Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


  • Standard entryFrom £15*
  • Concessions25%**

* Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

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