Symphonie Fantastique
Closed 0h 55m
Symphonie Fantastique

Symphonie Fantastique NYC Reviews and Tickets

(68 Reviews)
Members say
Enchanting, Clever, Delightful, Absorbing, Quirky

About the Show

Renowned puppet artist Basil Twist returns to HERE with a revival of his 1998 boundary-breaking response to Berlioz’s 1830 'Symphonie Fantastique,' which takes place in the most unlikely of places - a 1,000-gallon water tank.

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Member Reviews (68)

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1015 Reviews | 420 Followers
Enchanting, Delightful, Clever, Entertaining, Mesmerizing

See it if You want to see a short show, no plot, just beautiful free form underwater puppetry. Perfect for a stoner! Lovely piano accompaniment.

Don't see it if If you expect some sort of plot or if you can’t be satisfied with fairly simple puppets. It’s gorgeous but seems rather small scale to me.

716 Reviews | 219 Followers
Enchanting, Masterful, Quirky, Exquisite, Refreshing

See it if Dreamy performance art. Creative combination of live music and underwater visuals.

Don't see it if Abstract art with no characters or story. I found my attention torn at times between the music & visuals.

716 Reviews | 157 Followers
Edgy, Overrated, Quirky, Slow, Clever

See it if you're a fan of Basil Twist & Berlioz's Symphony, want to see a wild concept realized, curious about puppetry used to make abstract images

Don't see it if you are expecting a traditional style puppet show, not a fan of the abstract, not into color and light spectacles or plotless shows Read more

715 Reviews | 108 Followers
Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you like unusual setting of music. Sit close so you can see what happens in the tank of water. Nice visual effects.

Don't see it if you like something with a plot. This is music and action in a tank of water. Read more

670 Reviews | 156 Followers
Fascinating, Plotless, Great music, Luminous, Artful

See it if the idea of beautiful piano music (Berlioz) accompanied by a lush, colorful visual score of nearly abstract shapes in motion appeals to you.

Don't see it if you need some plot with your theater—there is none here. Read more

635 Reviews | 237 Followers
Enchanting, Great staging, Slow, Overrated, Clever

See it if You love classical music and would be mesmerized by cool lighting and imaginative, abstract puppetry.

Don't see it if You fall asleep easily (it’s very soothing) or think you’re in for an evening of realistic, theatrical puppetry (it’s fabric in water).

567 Reviews | 147 Followers
Clever, Disappointing, Fluffy

See it if Hypnotic aquatic fantasia of billowing colourful scarves. Live piano accompaniment. Stay after to see how it's done. (60 min.)

Don't see it if Not Basil's best. Didn't like it 20 years ago, still don't. Front loader delicate cycle in darkness; bonus of cramped uncomfortable setting.

470 Reviews | 113 Followers
Entertaining, Great staging, Masterful

See it if Fun to watch the 55 min show with shapes moving around w/man playing piano. Take the free backstage tour afterward to see how it's all done!

Don't see it if You don't like walking backstage to spoil the "magic" of how this was done (but this was a really cool tour: line moves quickly!)

Critic Reviews (12)

The New York Times
April 4th, 2018

"What you are watching never intrudes on or obscures what you are listening to; the discrete sensory experiences become, uncannily, one and the same...Mr. Twist’s rendering of Berlioz transcends such problems of representation. Instead, his terpsichorean feathers and fabrics hypnotize us into a state that approaches synesthesia, in which we seem to be hearing with our eyes, or seeing with our ears."
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April 4th, 2018

"Pure imagination...'Symphonie Fantastique' resists attempts to tack meaning onto its glorious unreason, making it still one of the most original things to come out of the New York theater two decades after it first emerged...With no characters, no story, and no recognizable symbols, 'Symphonie Fantastique' holds us transfixed...When so much theater in New York remains aggressively story-driven and rooted in realism, 'Symphonie Fantastique' dares to be different, and succeeds fantastically."
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April 8th, 2018

"HERE, the adventurous performing and visual arts institution, has brought back Basil Twist's hit 'Symphonie Fantastique' which was created at HERE in 1998. 'Symphonie Fantastique' is probably Twist's most famous and in-demand work, although he has produced better work, most particularly in partnership with Paula Vogel ('The Long Christmas Ride Home') and Joey Arias ('Arias with a Twist'), but judging from the sold-out house HERE's decision to revive it is warranted."
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Theatre is Easy
April 5th, 2018

"Mr. O’Reily is a masterful performer, but I still missed the complex quality of sound required to experience the full effect of the symphony...The production does, however, preserve the essence of 'Symphonie Fantastique,' specifically in its relentless experimental spirit...Every single technical aspect of the show is impressive, but it does not seem to resonate with me beyond being an exciting way to experience Berlioz’s music."
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Stage Buddy
April 16th, 2018

"A unique journey...with a level of physicality so precise, you don't even see it...Inside a 1,000-gallon water tank, colors and shapes come alive as five unseen puppeteers move and manipulate objects of varying sizes...Set to the sonorous score of Berlioz's 'Symphonie Fantastique'...Gorgeous, eye-popping images. It's art in motion, performance art combined with music, visual art, and whimsy. And it is simply breathtaking."
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Exeunt Magazine
April 30th, 2018

"A team of five puppeteers...Don wetsuits and soar over the tank, dipping pieces of fabric, feathers, and tinsel in conversation with the music to create a complex, intricate choreography...A hypnotic, phantasmagorical display...Audiences can make of it whatever they like. They can choose to find a story, or they can simply sit back and enjoy it on a purely sensory level...A uniquely magical experience, one perhaps best consumed with a mind open to beauty for beauty's sake."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
April 4th, 2018

"Twist provides a remarkably well-crafted artistic creation. It also happens to be-I hate to say it-dramatically dull…In 'Symphonie Fantastique'…we discover how a variety of fabrics, feathers, and other items can be put to aesthetic use when manipulated under water, beautifully lit, and accompanied by powerful music…'Symphonie Fantastique' is either a piano concert accompanied by charmingly choreographed, abstract images, or vice-versa…It is, however, by no means a drame fantastique."
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Stage Left
May 6th, 2018

“Unique, dazzling, and entrancing theatrical encounter...An epic, five movement autobiographical meditation on the composer’s love obsession...A mélange of materials...all moving and swirling about, manipulated by five unseen puppeteers in ecstatic choreography...Trance-like aquatic dance exquisitely timed to Berlioz’s dynamic score, producing an effect at once whimsical and hallucinatory...Rarest of theatrical offerings...An exciting and original artistic achievement.”
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