Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

Founded in 1989 by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) aims to bring the stylistic fidelity and intensity of expression of the renowned English Baroque Soloists to the music of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The ORR has been acclaimed for its interpretations of all the major early Romantic composers, starting with Hector Berlioz. They performed and recorded his “Symphonie fantastique” in the hall of the old Paris Conservatoire, where the very first performance took place in 1830. In 1993, together with the Monteverdi Choir, the orchestra gave the first modern performances of the newly rediscovered “Messe Solennelle”. They later joined forces to perform “L’Enfance du Christ” at the Proms as well as the first complete staged performances in Paris of Berlioz’s masterpiece “Les Troyens”, given at the Théâtre du Châtelet.

Other critically acclaimed initiatives have included a project entitled “Schumann Revealed” given at the Barbican, including recordings of the complete Schumann symphonies and “Das Paradies und die Peri”. The ORR has performed operas by Carl Maria von Weber (“Oberon” and “Der Freischütz”), Georges Bizet (“Carmen”), Emmanuel Chabrier (“L’Etoile”), Giuseppe Verdi (“Falstaff”) and Claude Debussy (“Pelléas et Mélisande”) in new productions in France, Italy and London.

Since 2015, the ORR has again focused on Berlioz, performing his “Symphonie fantastique” at the BBC Proms, followed by performances of “Lélio” and “Symphonie fantastique” at the Edinburgh International Festival and Festival Berlioz. In 2016, the ORR returned to the Proms with Berlioz’s “Roméo et Juliette” (as part of Shakespeare 400), before touring a programme of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms with acclaimed concert pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout. In 2017, the Orchestra once again returned to the music of Berlioz via performances of his monumental “La damnation de Faust”.

2018 saw a continued commitment to the music of Berlioz, with an extensive tour of his major symphonic works (including “Harold in Italy”, “Lélio” and “Symphonie fantastique”), the highlight of which was undoubtedly an appearance at the BBC Proms with star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, amongst concerts in Europe and in the United States. As well as Berlioz, the ORR also gave several performances of Verdi’s monumental “Requiem” with the Monteverdi Choir in a critically-acclaimed European tour.

The ORR’s Berlioz celebrations culminated in 2019, marking the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death. In the summer, the ORR were joined by the Monteverdi Choir and a cast of international soloists for a series of staged concerts of Berlioz’s first opera, “Benvenuto Cellini”, in what were the first contemporary performances of the piece on period instruments.

The 2019/20 season marks 30 years since the founding of the ORR, as well as the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. In celebration of these twin milestones, the orchestra will embark on another momentous project, performing a cycle of all nine of the composer’s symphonies in residencies across Europe and the United States. The celebrations continue in September as the orchestra unites with the Monteverdi Choir to perform Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” at some of Europe’s most prestigious music festivals.

The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique is under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales.


As of November 2019

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

© Sim Canetty-Clarke

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