Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 -- 8 March 1869) was a French composer, conductor and [[CausticCritic music critic]] of the Romantic Era. An extremely controversial figure due to the direction in which he took his compositions, [[NeverAcceptedInHisHometown Berlioz had difficulty having his works performed in France]], the story of which is told colourfully (though with exaggerations) in his ''Memoirs''. He fared somewhat better abroad as his tours in Germany, Russia and England were relatively successful. [[Music/RobertSchumann Schumann]] was enthusiastic about his music, and [[Music/FranzLiszt Liszt]] was one of his champions.

A Shakespeare {{fanboy}}, Berlioz wrote several operas based on the Bard's works such as ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' and ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'' (under the title ''Beatrice and Benedict''). His best known work is ''Music/SymphonieFantastique'', an early example of programme music, and one of the first examples of a [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs psychedelic symphony.]] (In fact, the programme to that work mentions a "sensitive artist" who "poisons himself with opium in a fit of despair."), as well as the ''Te Deum'', specifically its second movement, "Tibi omnes", which was used as the backdrop to the lighting of the Flame for the 2000 UsefulNotes/OlympicGames in Sydney, Australia.

!!Berlioz's music provides examples of:
* DarkerAndEdgier: His ''Damnation of Faust'', opposed to Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe's, gives no hope for Faust's salvation. Faust is taken to Hell by Mephistopheles, rather than redeemed by Gretchen.
* {{Disneyfication}}: Berlioz's ''Damnation of Faust'' lacks the obscure philosophy of Goethe's version. Instead, it focuses on the love story between Faust and Gretchen. Nevertheless, it is DarkerAndEdgier.
* DoorStopper: Both volumes of his monstrous biography by David Cairns. Reading both volumes may take almost a year or more.
* LighterAndSofter: ''Beatrice and Benedict'', based on Shakespeare's ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'', lacks the villains and near catastrophe of the play. It instead focuses on the psychologies and repartee of the two protagonists.
* LoveAndDeath: The core themes of his works.