Samson et Dalila

Opera in three acts (1877/1892)

music by

Camille Saint-Saëns

text by

Ferdinand Lemaire

Hostility, hatred and religious wars, power, helplessness and desire: in the Hebrew struggle for freedom, Samson, as God’s chosen one, rebukes the hostile Philistines. Samson seems invincible until his love for the Philistine Dalila exposes him. She finds out the secret of his extraordinary strength. The loss of his identity is at stake, and a race against time begins.

The literary source for Ferdinand Lemaire’s libretto was the Old Testament’s Book of Judges, which tells of the Israelite’s oppression in Palestinian Gaza. The opera, which premiered in Weimar in 1877 under the baton of Franz Liszt, is one of the most popular Romantic French-language operas, with its lyrical descriptions and great choral tableaux. Despite its successful premiere in German translation, Saint-Saëns did not achieve his breakthrough with »Samson et Dalila« until 1890, and then only indirectly, in his native France. This work is now restaged by the Argentine film director and screenwriter Damián Szifron, whose film »Wild Tales« was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Language Film in 2015.



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