The Dallas Opera's Samson and Dalila made a marvelous return to the stage following a 46-year hiatus. The Biblical tale of faith, love, revenge, and tragedy is shown in three acts, each more gripping than the last. Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Dalila builds up drama throughout the opera until the seat-gripping finale. While it may not seem as the conventional start to the season, this dynamic opera provided incredible vocals, both from the leads and chorus, an engaging score by the Dallas Opera orchestra led by musical director Emmanuel Villaume, and a jaw-dropping performance by the Dallas Black Dance Theatre choreographed by Nycole Ray in Act 3. Samson and Dalila was a triumphant start to the 17-18 season, and you can still catch it! Next performances are: 2 pm Nov. 5, and at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets start at $19, to purchase click here. To purchase Young Professionals best-seat tickets for just $50 (plus free beer), click here.
The tumultuous chemistry between tenor Clifton Forbis as Samson and mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina showed their perfect casting - the imperfect strongman and the devious seductress. Their acting and staging was full of emotion, and second only to their flawless duets and arias. Borodina is world-renowned for her mastery of Dalila, and this performance is no different; her rendition of, "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix," could melt the coldest of hearts.
Supporting vocals from baritone Richard Paul Fink as the High Priest of Dagon complement Borodina well, and his strong performance transforms the temple of Dagon into the hedonistic extravaganza it is meant to be. Strong lesser roles are sung by Zach Hess as the First Philistine, Travis Wiley McGuire as the Second Philistine, Jay Gardner as the Messenger and Ryan Custer as the Old Hebrew. Although the performance of the chorus was prevalent throughout the opera and impressive, the staging of Act 1 seemed too static to properly convey its ideas and the significance of Samson's deliverance to the Israelites. In contrast, the staging, by director Bruno Berger-Gorski, of Act 2 and 3 was dynamic and complemented the story.