Jose Etxenagusia Errazkin, Sansón y Dalila, 1887
Camille Saint-Saëns, Samson et Dalila
Turin, Teatro Regio, 15 November 2016
Cecil B. DeMille in China
Samson was a Nazarite, a chosen one, like Jacob or Isaac, and his birth was a miracle because his mother was barren. The prohibition of cutting his hair, as well as not drinking alcohol, was part of his covenant with the God of Israel to free its people from Philistia. It is written in the Bible, “Book of Judges” 13-16, and it is a subject well suited for an oratorio – Handel set it to music on a text by Milton in 1743.
Saint-Saëns’ opera begins with the solemn tones of a chorus…