Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila
An opera in three acts, Libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire, Directed by Nicolas Joel
Chorus and Orchestra of the San Francisco Opera, Conductor: Julius Rudel
Cast: Placido Domingo, Shirley Verrett, Wolfgang Brendel
Running Time: 111 min
Recording Date: 1981
Menu languages: GB, D, F, SP
Subtitle languages: GB, D, SP
Picture Format: 4:3
Sound Format: PCM Stereo
Region Code: 2,5
Sel. No. 100 202 PAL
Camille Saint-Saëns wrote music in all genres with an almost unprecedented lightness and variety, but in the field of opera he experienced relatively little success. The only exception was the dramatic work Samson et Dalila, which was premiered in Germany. Saint-Saëns had made the determined decision to write an oratorio from the legend of Samson and Delilah in 1859, which undoubtedly had to do with his admiration for Georg Friedrich Handel and Felix Mendelsohn Bartholdy, as well as the wave of enthusiasm for spiritual choral music spreading from England to other countries, which included France. It was the occasional poet and Creole husband of Saint-Saëns' cousin, Ferdinand Lemaire, who persuaded him to drop the oratorio and write an opera instead.
This live recording, with such stars as Placido Domingo, Shirley Verrett and Wolfgang Brendel, is of the 1981/82 season premiere at the San Francisco Opera. The performance was conducted by Julius Rudel and produced by Nicolas Joel (stage set by Douglas Schmidt, costumes by Carrie Robbins and lighting by Thomas Munn).