Company:Washington National Opera
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performance datesmatinee
Sunday, March 1, 2020
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Friday, March 13, 2020
Monday, March 16, 2020
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Samson and Delilah
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns

Librettist: Ferdinand Lemaire

Premiere Date: Sunday, December 2, 1877
Synopsis
Palestine, 1150 B.C.

Act I
In a square in Gaza, a group of Hebrews beg Jehovah for relief from their bondage to the Philistines; Samson, their leader, rebukes them for their lack of faith. When the Philistine commander, Abimélech, denounces the Hebrews and their God, Samson kills him and leads the Hebrews away. The High Priest of Dagon comes from the Philistine temple and curses Samson's prodigious strength, leaving with the slain man's bier. An Old Hebrew praises the returning Samson. The outer walls of the temple disappear to reveal Samson's former lover, the Philistine woman Dalila, who invites him to come that night to her nearby dwelling. She and her maidens dance seductively for Samson, who becomes deaf to the Old Hebrew's dour prophecies.

Act II
In the vale of Sorek, Dalila calls on her gods to help her ensnare and disarm Samson, promising the High Priest to find a way to render the hero powerless. Samson appears, passionate in spite of himself; when Dalila has him entranced, she feigns disbelief in his constancy and demands that he show his love by confiding in her the secret of his strength, weeping when he refuses. Samson hears rolling thunder as a warning from God but cannot resist following Dalila inside. Not long after, having finally learned that the secret of Samson's strength is his long hair, she calls to hidden Philistine soldiers, who rush in to capture and blind Samson.

Act III
In a dungeon at Gaza, the sightless Samson pushes a grist mill in a circle, praying for his people, who will suffer for his sin. He hears their voices castigating him.

During a bacchanal in the Temple of Dagon, Dalila and the High Priest taunt Samson. When they force him to kneel to Dagon, he asks a boy to lead him to the two main pillars of the temple. Samson prays to Jehovah to restore his strength, and with a mighty effort he pulls down the pillars and the temple, crushing himself and his foes.

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Lyric Opera of ChicagoSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsJanuary 2021
Washington National OperaSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsMarch 2020
Metropolitan OperaSamson et DalilaSaint-SaënsSeptember 2018
North Carolina OperaSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsApril 2018
Dallas OperaSamson et DalilaSaint-SaënsOctober 2017
Virginia OperaSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsSeptember 2017
Tulsa OperaSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsMay 2016
Opéra de MontréalSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsJanuary 2015
New Orleans Opera AssociationSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsMarch 2013
San Diego Opera AssociationSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsFebruary 2013
Washington Concert OperaSamson et DalilaSaint-SaënsApril 2012
West Bay OperaSamson et DalilaSaint-SaënsOctober 2011
Pittsburgh OperaSamson et DalilaSaint-SaënsOctober 2008
Kentucky OperaSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsMarch 2008
Nashville OperaSamson and DelilahSaint-SaënsOctober 2007
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