Mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner (Delilah) and tenor Derek Taylor (Samson) in Virginia Opera production of “Samson and Delilah.”
Virginia Opera opens its new season at the Center for the Arts with the epic
French opera “Samson and Delilah” by Camille Saint-Saëns. The production of “Samson and Delilah” continues the Virginia Opera “First of Firsts” series. The series aims to produce “an opera completely new to our company and our audiences,” said Adam Turner, Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser, Virginia Opera.
“We’ve managed to stretch our creative muscles while offering audiences fresh and engaging operas never before seen on the Virginia Opera stages,” added Turner. “‘Samson and Delilah’ is just a glorious masterpiece full of evocative musical story-telling.”
The Saint-Saëns opera was written to dramatize the Biblical story of Samson, the legendary Israelite warrior known for his long hair and great strength. Samson fell in love with and was betrayed by Delilah, a Philistine woman. Then Samson sought out his revenge on Delilah.
Where and When
Virginia Opera presents “Samson and Delilah” at the Center for the Arts, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. Performances: Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $54, $90 and $110. Call 703-993-2787 or visit www.cfa.gmu.edu. Note: “Samson and Delilah” will be performed in French with English supertitles. There will be a free 30-minute pre-opera discussion by Virginia Opera’s Community Outreach Musical Director, Dr. Glenn Winters
For its production of “Samson and Delilah” the Virginia Opera wanted to “give modern-day audiences an entry point into a story far removed from their regular lives. This is always a stimulating challenge for us,“ said Turner, “With this compelling and thought-provoking production of ‘Samson and Delilah,’ we have drawn an engaging parallel between the oppressors of Israel in the Biblical story and more recent historical fascist regimes.”
The creative talents of internationally renowned stage director, Paul Curran, and a remarkable set and costumes by Court Watson, are key ingredients to the Virginia Opera production of “Samson and Delilah.” Aiming to evoke a pre-World War II oppressive government regime, “our take on the show feels epic, sexy, dangerous, romantic, intoxicating and energetic,” said Watson, a native of Virginia.
The principal singers of Saint-Saëns’ grand, beautiful music are Virginia Opera veterans. They include tenor Derek Taylor (Samson), mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner (Delilah) and baritone Michael Chioldi (The High Priest). The opera is famous for its vivid, if not wild “Bacchanale” and the “Softly Wakes My Heart” aria of Delilah.
With daring staging and energy so patrons experience Delilah’s betrayal, Virginia Opera aims to not only provide grand entertainment for regular opera goers, but to attract new audiences as well. “Samson and Delilah” continues the ambitious vision for Virginia Opera to secure the youngest opera audience in America by 2025.
Inviting those who regularly attend Virginia Opera performances and those new to opera, Turner added that, “it will be a feast for the ears and cannot be missed.”