Samson and Dalila

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Is there anything that can bring a hero to his knees? Only the passion of the most beautiful woman in the world. Based on the infamous Bible tale, Samson is the only hope of the oppressed Hebrews and none of the machinations of the Philistines can stop him. Enter Dalila, the calculating seductress who can capture a man’s heart with ease. Dalila’s temptation of Samson will continue until she has what she wants: the secret of his strength. Her underestimation of Samson’s faith leads to the fatal climax of their story. Camille Saint-Saëns’ gripping retelling of this fable is a passionate account of what happens when two forces of nature meet and the consequences of such battles.

Starring Clifton ForbisOlga Borodina • Richard Paul Fink 

Conductor Emmanuel Villaume • Director Bruno Berger* • Costume Design TBD • Lighting Design Felice Ross*

*Dallas Opera debut

Rated PG-13


Synopsis

ACT ONE

A square in Gaza

A group of Hebrews prays to God for relief from their bondage to the Philistines. Samson stands out from the crowd and encourages them to put their trust in God. The Philistine commander Abimélech overhears Samson’s words and denounces the Hebrews and their God. Samson challenges him and urges his people to action, killing Abimélech. Samson leads the mob away. The High Priest of Dagon furiously orders his fearful Philistine soldiers to kill the Hebrews, who are now burning the Philistine fields. He curses Samson, the Hebrews, and their God. Samson, reentering with his joyous people, gives thanks for their victory. When the Philistine priestess Dalila and her attendants appear, they bring flowers to crown the victors. Dalila recalls how Samson once conquered her heart and invites him to return to her. Samson is tempted, despite the Old Hebrew’s warning to ignore her wiles. Dalila’s words grow more passionate. Her maidens dance seductively, and she tells Samson of the burning love she still feels for him.

ACT TWO

Valley of Sorek

At her home in the valley of Sorek, Dalila calls on her gods to help her entrap Samson and render him powerless. The High Priest unexpectedly enters, telling Dalila of Samson’s victories over the Philistines, and requests her help. She promises to defeat him that very night and refuses any reward, explaining that her hatred of Samson has already led her to attempt to learn the secret of his strength three times. Sure of their victory, the priest rushes away. Dalila now fears Samson will not come, but in the gathering storm he appears. He tells Dalila that his passion has driven him to her. When he describes how God calls him to lead Israel, Dalila predicts he will yield to her more powerful god—love. As soon as he surrenders, she demands that he tell her the secret of his strength. When he refuses, she calls him a coward. Samson hears God’s warning in the thunder, but follows Dalila into her house. Learning his secret, Dalila calls for the Philistine soldiers.

ACT THREE

Dungeon at Gaza/Temple of Dagon

Samson, blind and chained to an enormous millwheel, implores God to take pity on his people, and to take his life instead. The Hebrews are heard lamenting in the background. In the Temple of Dagon, the Philistines hail this day of celebration of victory over the Hebrews. Led by a child, Samson endures the mockery of the High Priest and Dalila. When the Priest challenges the God of Israel to prove his might by restoring Samson’s sight, the hero prays for a return of his strength. The Priest commands the child to lead Samson to the altar between the main pillars of the temple. Samson again prays for strength, and with a mighty effort pushes down the pillars of the temple, crushing everyone.

 

Sung in French with English supertitles