Dallas Opera's SAMSON & DALILA Opens 10/20
The Dallas Opera is proud to present the initial mainstage offering of the 2017-2018 "Motives Unmasked!" Season: Camille Saint-Saëns' glorious nineteenth-century grand opera, SAMSON & DALILA, opening with The Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. (note special curtain time), the first of five performances in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Downtown Dallas. Saint-Saëns' 1877 masterpiece features a tremendous ensemble cast that includes Russian superstar Olga Borodina, Clifton Forbis, Richard Paul Fink, Michael Chioldi and Ryan Kuster.
Performances continue on October 22(m), 25, 28 and November 5(m), 2017 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., (except for the opening night performance mentioned above) and the curtain rises on our Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. There is absolutely no late seating.
SAMSON & DALILA will be performed in its original language, French, with English-language translations projected above the stage at every performance.
Samson is the only hope of his people, the Hebrews, in the oppressive grip of the Philistines. Enter Dalila, the calculating seductress capable of capturing men's hearts with ease. Her temptation of Samson continues until she gets what she wants: the secret of his strength. Camille Saint-Saëns' opera builds to the familiar, spectacular climax, taken straight from the Book of Judges in this libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire.
Dramatic tenor Clifton Forbis has sung some of the most challenging roles in the operatic repertoire. He has mesmerized Dallas Opera audiences as Siegmund in Die Walküre, as well as a "forceful and manly" Tristan. Samson is a signature role for Mr. Forbis, who has performed this part at Bilbao, San Francisco Opera and New York's Metropolitan Opera. He was last seen on The Dallas Opera stage in 2012's groundbreaking production of Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, directed by Christian Räth, after inaugurating Dallas Opera productions in the Winspear Opera House in October of 2009 in the title role of Otello.
He will star opposite the legendary Russian mezzo-soprano, Olga Borodina, who came to prominence in the West in 1992 when she starred opposite Plácido Domingo in Samson at London's Covent Garden. This Grammy Award-winner is considered the ultimate Dalila of her generation, according to London-based critic Rupert Christiansen of The Telegraph.
Adam Wasserman of Opera News observed "...to watch Borodina is to see the masterful emergence of a truly human, fully formed character...buttressed by some of the most luxurious, thrilling vocalism that one can hope to encounter in an opera house."
The artist is closely associated with the historic Mariinsky Theatre in her birthplace,
Saint Petersburg, Russia, but performs and records throughout the Western world, as well.
Ms. Borodina's recording of the Verdi Requiem with Riccardo Muti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, won two 2011 Grammy Awards, including Best Classical Album.
Music Director EmManuel Villaume (The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director) will conduct the renowned Dallas Opera Orchestra in "one of the brightest jewels of French opera."
Maestro Villaume triumphed in a revival of Jonathan Kent's production of Tosca at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; prompting Hannah Nepil of The Financial Times to praise Villaume for "teasing out sultry, sumptuous playing from his orchestra." He also earned uniformly outstanding notices for his superb conducting of The Dallas Opera's 2016 revival of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick, prompting Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones to write, "...with Villaume on the podium, Heggie's score comes across as much more neo-tonal, lush, magnificently constructed and neo-romantic opera than what I perceived in the score back then. Vocal lines soar, giving singers some great bel-canto phrases that are grateful for the voice."
Over the past summer, Villaume conducted a critically acclaimed Dallas Opera-Santa Fe Opera co-production of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel in its debut as part of the Santa Fe Opera 2017 Season. Directed by Paul Curran and designed by Gary McCann, this new production will take centerstage in Dallas in an upcoming season.
The Samson & Dalila performance on Wednesday, October 25th will be conducted by special guest Pierre Vallet, in his Dallas Opera debut.
Praised for the elegance and intensity of his performances, Maestro Vallet is a long-serving member of the Metropolitan Opera Conductors Staff. He also conducts at Paris National Opera; the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow; Sweden's Göteborg Opera; Barcelona's Gran Teatro del Liceu; the Saito Kinen Festival and in many other prestigious houses and venues throughout Europe and Asia. The New York Times even cited Vallet for conducting one of the "Ten Best Classical Performances in New York City" in 2016.
Maestro Vallet's symphonic work includes several appearances at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London; the Royal Camerata in Bucharest; the Spoleto Festival USA; and the Greenwich Village Orchestra in New York.
With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Elizabeth Sombart, Vallet has recorded the Chopin piano concertos, as well as a CD of adagios from piano concertos.
SAMSON & DALILA will be staged by internationally acclaimed German director Bruno Berger-Gorski in his TDO debut. He has been described as "the only active German opera director who has staged operas on four continents"-including more than a hundred from the standard repertoire. Mr. Berger-Gorski is also considered a champion of rarely performed, unusual, or contemporary works, such as Dirk d'Ase's Einstein, Gomes' Condor for the Festival, Wolf-Ferrari's Sly, and Offenbach's Rheinnixon hailed as "the discovery of the year" by Opernwelt magazine.
Keith Cerny, the Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO noted: "We've assembled a superb cast and off-stage team for our season opening production, to breathe life into an exciting and accessible grand opera that hasn't been seen on our stage in nearly half a century!
We are especially pleased to be giving Dallas audiences the chance to personally experience the world-class artistry of Olga Borodina and Clifton Forbis; however, I'm certain patrons will be just as swept away by the power and beauty of this terrific ensemble of principal singers and the amazing Dallas Opera Chorus.
If any show is guaranteed to bring the house down on opening night-it's this one!"
Other members of this cast include Grammy-winning baritone Richard Paul Fink as the High Priest of Dagon, baritone Michael Chioldi in his TDO debut as Abimélech (the Philistine provincial governor), and bass-baritone Ryan Kuster as the Old Hebrew.
The sets were designed by Peter Dean Beck for Pittsburgh Opera. Carrie Robbins designed the costumes for San Francisco Opera. Both will be making their house debuts. Lighting design is by Allen Burrett and choreography by Nycole Ray, artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre: Encore!, in her Dallas Opera debut.
As always, chorus preparation is by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
Student Rush Tickets are available at the door 90 minutes prior to curtain - a valid student ID is required for each ticket purchased. Contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000. For additional information about the cast, artistic/production team, and synopsis, or to purchase this "hot ticket"-visit www.dallasopera.org today.
SAMSON & DALILA: SYNOPSIS
Palestine, 1150 B.C. 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.
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 in her power, 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 afterward, 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.
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.
By John W. Freeman - courtesy of Opera News
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