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Subject: Re: Dallas Samson and Dalila
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 22 Oct 2017 18:04:49 +0000
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Hi Gordon and list

It may be considered Saint-Saens' "masterpiece" but it is not
generally cnsidered to be a masterpiece when judged against
the broader range of operas. Still, it has some wonderful things.

Those things, though, can seem less than wonderful when
performed poorly or indifferently.

At the Met, in the mid sixties, there was a production with Jess Thomas,
Rita Gorr and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Georges Pretre, that was,
outside of Thomas, magnificently performed, and it was a visual knockout.

The opera has much too much filler, but beyond the ordinary are
Dalila's two great arias, a fabulous duet for Dalia and the High Priest,
the great love duet and a very good final scene. And a few other
effective moments.

Rita Gorr was simply sensational both visually and vocally. She and Bacquier
brought the audience to a near frenzy with the great second act duet.
She filled the auditorium with a cascade of sound rarely heard, and he, of
course was the definition of "class". It was somethin'.

Mario del Monaco was in the audience the night of the premiere, and he
received a huge ovation as he reentered the theater before the second act.

When Vickers sang Samson everything seemed just a little better, and
later, McCracken was no slouch.

Gordon, I think it really has about an hour of very good music, which
approaches memorable in the right hands. But, a "masterpiece" it
ain't.

Bob

On Sun, Oct 22, 2017 at 13:07 gordon young <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Friday night the Dallas Opera began its season with Samson and Dalila.
> Clifton Forbis sang Samson and Olga Borodina was Dalila. Emmanuel Villaume
> conducted.
>
> With last nights performance this opera may go into my pile (it’s a small
> pile) of never again operas. I am curious to know what others think of
> Saint-Saens “masterpiece” (?). Last night I felt that the orchestration
> lacked complexity and the orientalism struck me as being more clichéd than
> inventive.
>
> The last time the DO did it the tenor was Vickers and, being just a bit
> provocative, Clifton Forbis is no Vickers. His voice was downright ugly and
> painful. As painful as it was for the audience it must have been painful
> for the singer as well. I won’t be seeing the production again so am not
> able to judge if it was just an off night for Mr. Forbis.
>
> Borodina sang well enough but didn’t create an alluring Dalila. The first
> act aria was slow and monotonous with little dynamic or tonal variety. She
> does have a strong chest voice but often it seemed jarring even annoying
> and not of the musical line.
>
> Why begin the opera with a scene dominated by a chorus seemingly more
> appropriate for an oratorio. Again for me the music is dull and the equally
> dull staging didn’t help by distracting with some visual titilation.
>
> Throughout the stage direction seemed clumsy and incomplete. In the act
> love duet Samson was looking into the wings away from Dalila who was placed
> across the stage in her “tent”. The bacchanal in this production seemed as
> much auto-de-fe as orgy and by this time I had become so bored that I was
> craving an orgy.
>
>
> Next Friday Traviata with Georgie Jarman, Rene Barbera and Viadislav
> Sulimsky
> Gordon
>
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