Camille Saint-Saëns

Samson et Dalila

Upcoming Performances

Wednesday

Mar 13 at 8 PM

Saturday

Mar 16 at 8 PM

Tuesday

Mar 19 at 8 PM

Saturday

Mar 23 at 1 PM

Thursday

Mar 28 at 8 PM

Overview

When mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča and tenor Roberto Alagna joined forces for a new production of Carmen at the Met, the results were electrifying. Now this star duo reunites for another sensual French opera when they open the season in the title roles of Saint-Saëns’s biblical epic Samson et Dalila. Darko Tresnjak, who won a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2014 for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, makes his Met debut directing a vivid, seductive staging, featuring a monumental setting for the last-act Temple of Dagon, where the hero crushes his Philistine enemies. Sir Mark Elder conducts the first new Met production of the work in 20 years.

Production a gift of the Gramma Fisher Foundation, Marshalltown, Iowa, and H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang, PhD. and Oscar Tang

Additional funding from The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Endowment Fund and William R. Miller

Languages

Languages sung in Samson et Dalila

Sung In

French

Titles

Title languages displayed for Samson et Dalila

Met Titles In

  • English
  • German
  • Spanish

Timeline

Timeline for the show, Samson et Dalila

Estimated Run Time

3 hrs 20 mins

  • House Opens

  • Act I

    46 mins

  • Intermission

    37 mins

  • Act II

    43 mins

  • Intermission

    37 mins

  • Act III

    37 mins

  • Opera Ends

World Premiere: Grand Ducal Theater, Weimar, 1877. The source of this popular opera is a single chapter in the biblical Book of Judges, and the brevity of the tale did nothing to prevent it from becoming one of the world’s great stories of love (or at least passion)—as well as the archetypal depiction of a man betrayed by an immoral woman. Saint-Saëns’s opera, along with other artistic renderings across multiple genres, has had an important role in the popularization of this tale. Despite tepid success early on, Samson et Dalila eventually conquered the operatic world and has proven itself a magnificent evening of theater.  

Videos

Creators

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) was a leading figure of the French musical world throughout his life, successful as an organist, pianist, conductor, and prominent music commentator in addition to his work as a composer. Ferdinand Lemaire (1832–1879), a poet who married a cousin of Saint-Saëns’s and who made his most lasting impression with this work, contributed the libretto.

PRODUCTION

Darko Tresnjak

SET DESIGNER

Alexander Dodge

COSTUME DESIGNER

Linda Cho

LIGHTING DESIGNER

Donald Holder

CHOREOGRAPHER

Austin McCormick

Headshot of Camille Saint-Saëns

Composer

Camille Saint-Saëns

Setting

The opera, like the biblical tale, takes place in the city of Gaza, a capital of ancient Philistia, and in the Valley of Sorek, in the foothill country toward Jerusalem. The time is around 1150 BCE.

Music

The score of this opera teems over with color and dramatic aptitude and is a worthy compendium of Saint-Saëns’s diversified genius. Portions of the opera, including Dalila’s seduction aria “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” and the extraordinary ballet sequence in the final scene—the Bacchanale—are known well beyond the opera house. Throughout the work, the score brilliantly animates all the powerful and diverse colors in the iconic story, from the lurid to the exotic, the crass, the sensual, and even the sublimely spiritual.