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This year marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) and this new release marks the innovatory development in his output of a masterpiece that combines elements of symphony, opera and oratorio.

‘Berlioz was in full command of his orchestral and vocal compositional powers by the time he wrote Roméo et Juliette. Every aspect of his mastery is on display, especially his amazing ear for color. The demands on the orchestra are immense, but every bar is so well thought out that matters of difficulty seem fleeting.’

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 9 (Il Nono Libro de Madrigali, 1651) / Scherzi musicali (1632)
Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) 150th Anniversary
Hector BERLIOZ (1803–1869)
Roméo et Juliette *
Béatrice et Bénédict – Overture
Le roi Lear – Overture

Marion Lebègue, Mezzo-soprano *
Julien Behr, Tenor *
Frédéric Caton, Bass *
Spirito / Choeurs et Solistes de Lyon-Bernard Tétu *
Orchestre National de Lyon
Leonard Slatkin

Of all Berlioz’s Shakespeare-inspired works, Roméo et Juliette is unquestionably his masterpiece. It is also cast in an innovative new form, a kind of ‘super-symphony’ that incorporates elements of symphony, opera and oratorio. Berlioz composed no singing roles for the central characters, but allowed others to comment or narrate, giving latitude to incarnate the lovers in a musical language of extraordinary delicacy and passion. The vivid Ball Scene and Romeo at the Capulet tomb are intensely dramatic but the heart of the work is the Love Scene, a long symphonic poem which Richard Wagner called ‘the melody of the 19th century’.

About the Artists
Leonard Slatkin is Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Directeur Musical Honoraire of the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL). He maintains a rigorous schedule of guest conducting throughout the world and is active as a composer, author and educator. His recent Naxos recordings include works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and Berlioz (with the ONL) and music by Copland, Rachmaninov, Borzova, McTee, and John Williams (with the DSO). He has received six GRAMMY® Awards and 33 nominations.
Orchestre National de Lyon | © Nico Rodamel
The Orchestre National de Lyon has a core of 104 permanent musicians. Its current music director laureate is American conductor Leonard Slatkin, who was music director from September 2011 to June 2017. The orchestra performs in concert halls around the world, such as the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Berlin Philharmonie, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Shanghai. In 1979, it became the first European symphony orchestra to perform in China.
Marion Lebègue won First Prize in the International Singing Competitions of Toulouse and Marmande in 2014, and Third Opera Prize in Munich's 2015 ARD International Music Competition. She is regularly invited to appear in major venues in Paris, as well as in opera houses around France, including those in Avignon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nice and Toulouse.
Julien Behr made his international debut in 2009 at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Orphée in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers. Since then, he has made notable appearances at the Paris Opéra National, Theater an der Wien, Teatro La Fenice, Venice, the Barbican, London, and elsewhere.
After studying singing at the Nice conservatoire, Frédéric Caton joined the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, followed by four years with the Opéra de Lyon. Since then he has performed throughout the world, notably Massenet’s Werther in Vienna and London, Carmen in Tokyo, Les Troyens at the Salzburg Festival, and L’Enfance du Christ at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
Chœurs et Solistes de Lyon-Bernard Tétu | © Jean-Luc Fortin
For over 30 years, the Chœurs et Solistes de Lyon-Bernard Tétu performed some 50 concerts annually throughout the Rhône-Alpes region and beyond. The ensemble was established in 1979 by its musical director Bernard Tétu under the name of the ‘Choruses of the Orchestre National de Lyon’. Their versatility enabled them to tackle both chamber music and major oratorios. Today their work and traditions are continued by the vocal ensemble Spirito, directed by Nicole Corti.
Highly acclaimed recordings featuring Leonard Slatkin and the ONL
Symphonie fantastique

Orchestre National de Lyon • Slatkin
‘Not just another Symphonie fantastique,
but one that’s really quite special.’
Also available in Blu-ray Audio (NBD0029 )
‘A delightful and assorted collection …
presented in splendid performances.’
Classical Net
Also available in Blu-ray Audio (NBD0030)
Harold en Italie • Rêverie et Caprice
Le carnaval romain • Benvenuto Cellini

Berthaud • Radivo
Orchestre National de Lyon • Slatkin
‘Excellently played … benefiting from Slatkin’s familiar skill at clarifying orchestral textures.’
Also available in Blu-ray Audio (NBD0042)
‘Leonard Slatkin gives a colourful reading, creating a coherent whole from diversity.’
The WholeNote
Also available in Blu-ray Audio (NBD0045)
For the full list of recordings by the Orchestre National de Lyon, please visit

For the full list of Leonard Slatkin’s extensive discography on Naxos, please visit

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