Recorded live at the Vlaamse Opera Antwerpen/Gent, 2009
Torsten Kerl (Samson), Marianna Tarasova (Dalila), Nikola Mijailovic (High Priest), Gijs Van der Linden (Old Hebrew)
Symphonic Orchestra and Choir of the Flanders Opera, Tomáš Netopil (conductor) & Omri Nitzan and Amir Nizar Zuabi (directors)
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Using the example of the impossible love between the Jew Samson and the Philistine Dalila, Camille Saint-Saëns shows the deadly conflict between two hostile cultures and religions.
Staged by the Flanders Opera Company in Antwerp in 2009, Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson et Dalila is re-located in this production to the contemporary Middle East. The two directors, Israeli Omri Nitzan and Palestinian Amir Nizar Zuabi, explore the tensions between different nations and religions, and the complex relationship between the oppressors and the oppressed. ‘In our approach to this opera we tried to move away from the quasi-biblical interpretation, and to place the story in today’s world to explain its political aspects better,’ say the two directors. ‘Acts of terror by a state will lead to acts of terror against a state, which in turn will lead to more terror by the state and this completes the vicious circle.’
Performed by the Symphonic Orchestra and Choir of Vlaamse Opera Antwerp/Gent under the baton of Czech conductor Tomáš Netopil, Samson is sung by the young German tenor Torsten Kerl and Dalila by the Russian mezzo-soprano Marianna Tarasova. The kaleidoscopic colours of the music are brought out with sensitivity and lyricism by the orchestra and singers, unfolding the dramatic story in all its tragic beauty.
With this production the intendant, Aviel Cahn, hopes to elucidate the future course he intends to follow with the Flanders Opera: bringing opera to today’s people. Samson and Dalila promises to be a production that no serious opera connoisseur would want to miss.
Bonus: The Making of Samson et Dalila - including interviews with the production team and Torsten Kerl
Picture format: NTSC - 16:9
Sounds formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Region code: 0
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Subtitles: French, English, German, Dutch
Running time: 122 mins (+ Bonus 16 mins)
“Torsten Kerl's timbre suits Samson musically and textually...Kerl is massively built, but he's unafraid of movement and mantains a sympathetic presence.”
30th June 2011
“Set in Gaza, Samson et Dalila is ripe for a modern update, especially when jointly directed by an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian...[they] have swapped the role of the Jews from occupied to occupying force...[Kerl's] clarion Wagnerian tenor rings out gloriously...there’s a sincerity and simplicity in his approach which works rather well. Tomas Netopil leads the performance...with plenty of orchestral muscle and vivid excitement in the orgiastic ‘Bacchanale’.”
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