Fresh from the rapturously received free concert in Millennium Park that re-introduced new Music Director Riccardo Muti to the local audience, on Tuesday the Chicago Symphony Orchestra capped four nights performing Hector Berlioz’s two-part Episode in the Life of An Artist at Symphony Center. Each night, following the Symphonie fantastique, the legendary Gerard Depardieu joined Muti and the CSO to narrate its considerably lesser-known companion piece, Lelio. While Muti led the orchestra with fiery and pinpoint precision, Depardieu was equally passionate as he commanded the front of the stage with his magnetic presence. The suitably tempestuous narration (the piece climaxes with Fantasy on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest“) provided a perfect showcase for his finely honed range of expressions and emotions from deep contemplation to explosive rage, a spectacle not unfamiliar to those acquainted with his formidable body of film work.
In addition to his performance alongside Jeanne Moreau in the Facets Exclusive Nathalie Granger, directed by Marguerite Duras in 1973, here are ten more classic Depardieu performances that followed (in chronological order):
As a bonus, here are some DVDs featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti before his current role with the CSO, and Berlioz material including a performance of the Symphonie fantastique by the Montpelier Philharmonic Orchestra.
(Photo Courtesy of Todd Rosenberg/CSO)