The Life and Times of Hector Berlioz
French composer Hector Berlioz believed in love at first sight. When he was 23, he attended a performance of Shakespeare s play Hamlet and fell head over heels in love with Harriet Smithson, an English actress who had a leading role. Harriet didn t show any interest in him. She ignored his letters. When he tried to meet her backstage, she ordered the guard to throw him out.
Berlioz was hurt and angry. He wanted revenge. He got it by murdering Harrietmusically. She inspired Symphonie fantastique, his most famous work. The hero kills his beloved, is executed for the crime, and the symphony ends with a bizarre dance of ghosts, goblins, and other monsters.