SAMSON AND DELILAH
SAMSON AND DELILAH. Camille Saint-Saëns
14, 16, 18 November, 2019
“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 and Delilah
With Asociación Sevillana de Amigos de la Ópera (ASAO)
SALA DE PRENSA
13 November, 2019
Sala de prensa (Access via the theatre reception entrance)
Free of charge until complete capacity
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€
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