Camille Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila


A surprisingly actual opera about the mechanisms of fanaticism: the biblical story of Samson and Dalila is an exemplary illustration of how reconciliation is found wanting in the face of religious and political motives. 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. Samson and Dalila sacrifice their personal happiness for their religious ideals, urged on by political advisors (High Priest, Satrap of Gaza, and an old Hebrew man). The opera ends with the collapse of the Temple of Dagon and the death of all those in attendance due to the reaction of the deeply humiliated Samson. The people of Israel are free, but the notion of reconciliation between the enemies remains a dream.

The Palestinian-Israeli production team, including the young Amir Nizar Zuabi and the experienced Omri Nitzan, places the complex relationships between the oppressed and the oppressors at the centre of the work’s vision. The basic assumption: the irony of history has reversed the roles but the violent nature of the relationship has remained the same. The production team’s joint scenic reflection on the present – in the mirror of the archetypal story of Samson and Dalila – focuses the attention not only on the bloody relations between Israel and Palestine, but on all current conflicts between peoples at war with one another, conflicts which in the meantime have also reached Europe.


Production Notes

  • Theatre Company
  • Canvas and Vlaamse Opera Antwerp/Ghent
  • Country
  • Belgium
  • Parental rating
  • Parental rating information not available.
  • Original language
  • French
  • Subtitles
  • English
  • In theaters
  • No
  • Category / Genre
  • Opera

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