SAMSON ET DALILA
SAMSON ET DALILA. Camille Saint-Saëns
14, 16, 18 November, 2019
The performance lasts about 2 hours 35 minutes, including one interval.
“Samson et Dalila”: chastity, hatred, lust
The Bible and opera, two worlds apparently far apart, meet in “Samson et Dalila” by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921). This work full of passion and exoticism, despite its scope for extravagant productions and the extraordinary dramatic power of Dalila, a character originally written for Pauline Viardot, still recalls the initial form Saint-Saëns intended to write, an oratory.
The story of the Hebrew general Samson, seduced by his enemy, the Philistine Dalila, reveals a moral tale of chastity and lust which can thrill audiences in powerful arias like “Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix”, immortalised by Maria Callas. For the stage director Paco Azorín, one of the most brilliant figures on the current Spanish scene, at the heart of “Samson et Dalila” is a meditation on hatred -today between Palestine and Israel, back then between Philistines and Hebrews- which he uses to convey the message that “in this society there is a place for everyone”. “Samson et Dalila”, an opera in three acts with a libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire, inspired by the Old Testament Book of Judges, was first performed, thanks to the support of Franz Liszt, at the Weimar Court Theatre in 1877 after 10 years of work plagued with difficulties, in which Saint-Saëns came close to giving up several times. It tells the story of the conflict between a man of superhuman might and the woman who leads him to ruin by cutting his hair, the source of his strength.
Part of the taste for the exotic that swept France in the mid-19th century, along with “Lakmè” by Delibes, for example, “Samson et Dalila” was understood in its day as a parable of the 1870 Franco-Prussian war which wrecked the country; it is the great work of Saint-Saëns, child prodigy, notable pianist and organist, and an expert in the music of the Arabic world. Alfred Einstein thought Saint-Saëns was “the most cultivated musician after Mendelssohn” with an extraordinary “melodic taste and culture”. “Samson et Dalila” evokes Meyerbeer, Gounod, and even the Wagner of “Lohengrin”, although the first act choruses and the imposing scenes with the priests in the last act took inspiration from Händel.
In the leading roles, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Spanish mezzo soprano born in Caracas into a family from the Canary Islands, who has made her name on the great international stages as a powerful Carmen in Bizet’s opera, and the impressive American tenor Gregory Kunde, celebrated in the Teatro de la Maestranza for his magnificent lead role in Verdi’s Otello, make for a high-voltage pairing worthy of the duel.
In a new production by the Teatro de la Maestranza and coproduced by the Classical Theatre of Merida, with stage direction by Paco Azorín. The conductor is Jacques Lacombe, head of the Bonn Opera, leading the ROSS and Chorus of the Teatro de la Maestranza.
En torno a Samson et Dalila
With Asociación Sevillana de Amigos de la Ópera (ASAO)
SALA DE PRENSA
13 November, 2019
With: Paco Azorín, Carlos Martos and José Luis López López
Sala de prensa (Access via the theatre reception entrance)
Free of charge until complete capacity
My trade is courage and atrocities.
I look at them and do not condemn.
I write things down the way they happened,
as near as can be remembered.
I don’t ask why, because it is mostly the same.
The Loneliness of the military Historian, 1995
Palestine, a public square in Gaza. A march is underway to free the Hebrews in front of the temple of Dagon, God of the Philistine oppressors. A war correspondent is witness to the demonstrators being repressed. The revolutionary leader Samson arrives, he has lost the confidence of his people. In a moment of inspiration, Samson kills Abimelech (Chief of Security Forces of the Philistine dictatorship). Then the Hebrews decimate the city so the Philistines and their satrap, the High Priest, are forced to flee to the mountains. After the massacre, Samson is imbued with power by the Old Hebrew. The doors of the temple of Dragon open and the Philistine women are obliged to give up their children and go into exile. Dalila is among them. She appeals to the love between Samson and herself, inviting him to the Valley of Sorek. Samson rejects her, he remains loyal to his God and his people.
Valley of Sorek. Dalila, torn apart by love and with her community devasted, shares her suffering with the journalist and calls upon the God of Love for courage. At that very instant, the High Priest arrives. He has come to ask Dalila to discover the secret of Samson’s strength. She pretends to comply although her real intention is to finally seduce him. Samson succumbs to Dalila’s charms. However, as God’s anger is incarnated in his white hair, the man spurns Dalila once more. Furious to have been rebuked again, she decides to betray him. Samson reveals his secret. And Dalila hands him over to the Philistines.
Samson is blind and shackled. He admits his guilt to the war correspondent for having disclosed the secret, the result being his people have been overpowered. The Philistines celebrate their victory in a Bacchanale by publicly taunting Samson and executing the population. Samson calls upon God and in a last spurt of energy, he pulls down the columns of the temple of Dagon, taking with it all the Philistines, thereby perpetuating the burden of blood.
14, 16, 18 November, 2019
PRICE LIST A: Friday, Saturday
PRICE LIST B: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday (except before public holidays)
PRICES: PRICE LIST A / PRICE LIST B
Stalls (Patio) 130€ / 120€
Balcony (1ª Balcón) 125€ / 115€
Balcony (2ª Balcón) 112€ / 104€
Terrace (1ª Terraza) 100€ / 93€
Terrace (2ª Terraza) 87€ / 80€
Slips (1ª Paraíso) 80€ / 74€
Slips (2ª Paraíso) 70€ / 62€
Slips (3ª Paraíso) 60€ / 49€
BUY TICKETS ONLINE:1 July, 2019. Possibility of printing tickets at home using the "ticket en casa" system.
BUY TICKETS AT BOX OFFICE: 1 July, 2019
Telephone. (+34) 954 22 65 73, in the event tickets are still available after the first day of Box Office sales. Surcharge 1.50€.
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Paseo de Cristóbal Colón 22.
10am-2pm/5pm-8pm. Monday to Saturday.
Closed on Sundays and holidays when there is no performance.
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