Magazine April 8, 2019, Issue

Berlioz Time

Hector Berlioz (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Many years ago, a reader introduced himself to me outside the Metropolitan Opera House. After a minute or two of conversation, he said, “May I ask you something?” His wife interjected, “Oh, Joe — don’t.” I said, “Sure.” He said, “Do you dislike Berlioz?” I smiled. “Ever so slightly,” I said. Obviously, this was apparent in my writing, at least to this discerning reader (and Berlioz man). I would say things like, “The conductor kept a firm hand over the Berlioz, which was to the good.”

I was never a Berlioz hater, mind you. Indeed, I loved some of his works

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