Hector Berlioz (1803 - 1869) came from a middle-class French family. At his doctor father's behest, he went to Paris to study medicine but he didn't like it. Instead he took up music. To supplement his income earlier on in life, he became a music critique and had to attend many performances which eventually pissed him off. He wanted to write music, not about music.
After many setbacks in music competitions, notably the Prix de Rome, Berlioz meets Franz Liszt who was a sort of Michael Jackson of classical music. They become great friends and work together. He also rubbed shoulders with Wagner, Mendelssohn and Paganini.
In 1831, he goes to Rome to study music for two years but one day he receives a letter from the mother of his fiancee telling him that she has already married someone else. Grrr!!! He decides to go back to France to kill the three people involved. He plans the triple murder in the most minute detail. Alas, by the time he gets to Nice he has cooled down. He stays for a while and on his return to Paris, he marries a Shakespearian actress, Harriet Smithson from Co. Clare, Ireland. His family are not happy. She was an alcoholic. He divorces her and remarries but he still loves her. His second wife dies of a heart attack at 48. Towards the end of his life he receives the news from Cuba that his only son has died of yellow fever. This is looking like a Greek tragedy. Harriet's health has been bad for years but he looks after her financially. He hated life and couldn't wait to die.
The story has a poignant sequel. When he did kick the bucket himself, he ironically ended up back with his two wives. All three are buried together at Montmartre cemetery in Paris.