Martina Belli

Martina Belli

Kyle Van Schoonhoven

Kyle Van Schoonhoven

Donovan Singletary

Donovan Singletary

Samson Kyle Van Schoonhoven
Delilah Martina Belli
High Priest of Baal Donovan Singletary
The Old Hebrew Jordan Bisch
Abimilech Jeffrey McEvoy
James Meena

James Meena

General Director & Principal Conductor

Jay Lesenger

Jay Lesenger

Director

Michael Baumgarten

Michael Baumgarten

Lighting Designer

Production Team

Costumer, Allison Collins

Wig and Make-up Design, Martha Ruskai

Technical Director, Wilbert Ferguson

The Story of Samson et Dalila

Grand Opera in Three Acts and Four Scenes
Libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire, inspired by the book of Judges
First performance, December 2, 1877, the Hoftheater at Weimar.

ACT 1. A public square in Gaza, Palestine, c. 1115 B.C. The Philistines cruelly oppress the Israelites. Samson, the Judge of Israel, raises their morale by retelling the miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea, and reminding them to put their faith in God. Abimelech, the satrap of Gaza, scorns Samson and the Israelites. Samson, inspired by God, answers his insults. He grabs Abimelech’s sword and kills him, warning their Philistines that their last hour approaches. The High Priest of Dagon curses the Israelites, but seem powerless to stop the rebellion Samson is now leading. By evening, Samson and his warriors have occupied the city. While at prayer, Delilah enters with a group of beautiful women. As they dance, she invites Samson to her home that eveningA fatal invitation he accepts.

ACT II. The valley of Sorek at night fall. Delilah expresses her hatred for Samson and his people. The High Priest enlists her aid in discovering the secret of Samson’s seemingly superhuman strength. Samson eventually arrives, torn between his desire for Delilah and his destiny as the liberator of his people. He gradually succumbs to Delilah and confesses the secret of his strengthItis his uncut hair, which is the symbol of his pledge and bond with God. Delilah is successful in cutting his flowing hair, leaving him powerless to fight the Philistine soldiers who capture him.

ACT III. Scene i. The prison in Gaza. Samson, in chains, blinded, his hair shorn, laboriously turns the millstone. Other captive Israelites rebuke him for having betrayed them. He begs God for forgiveness.

Scene ii. The Temple of Dagon. The High priest is surrounded by the Philistine nobility, including Delilah. He orders Samson to be brought in. Delilah taunts him and laughs at his having been deceived by her. She invites him to join their orgy. Samson is placed at the center of the temple, forced to kneel and is commanded to humble himself before Dagon. A little boy leads him between the two columns that support the Temple. When the High Priest commands him to sacrifice to Dagon, Samson prays to God to restore his strength for a moment. With a great effort, he pushes the columns apart, bringing the temple down around and killing all within.

Know Before You Go!

“Samson and Delilah, opera by Camille Saint-Saëns that premiered in Weimar on December 2, 1877, having previously been rejected in Paris for its portrayal of biblical subject matter. Its exotic and suggestive “Bacchanale,” the opera’s best-known excerpt, is often performed in concerts as an instrumental arrangement.

Dramatizing the life of Samson, the legendary strongman, and Delilah, the woman who seduced and betrayed him, the opera builds to a violent conclusion, in that Samson is crushed along with his foes when he pulls down a temple around them. Staging grandiose scenes such as the temple’s fall and the opera’s mass dances has long provided a technical challenge for directors.

The final act features the “Bacchanale,” a showpiece in which Delilah leads a wild and provocative dance to taunt Samson. The piece opens with a sensuous oboe solo before a steady pulse develops in the orchestra itself. Over that pulse, light woodwinds and strings carry the dance theme forward, with percussion emphasizing the action.”

Schwarm, Betsy. “Samson and Delilah”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 Apr. 2017, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Samson-and-Delilah-opera-by-Saint-Saens. Accessed 10 November 2023.

Parking Information

A special preferred parking rate of only $10* is available for our patrons in the Bank of America Center Parking Garage.

  • Entrances at: 150 N. College St. and 290 E. 5th St.

The $10 rate is applicable when parked in the garage after 5pm on weekdays, Monday-Friday. If parked in the garage before 5pm, the $10 rate is void. There is no time restriction for the weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

GETTING AND USING YOUR PARKING PASS WHEN YOU ARRIVE

  1. Pull the garage entry ticket when you arrive at the designated garage. You will need this to exit!
  2. Purchase a $10 Blumenthal exit pass at the theater or click here to purchase in advance online. If you would rather purchase by phone, please call 704.372.1000.*

WHEN YOU EXIT

  1. Insert your garage entry ticket into the yellow slot. Amount due will display on the screen.
  2. Insert your Blumenthal exit pass in the same yellow slot, with the arrow pointing at slot.
  3. Gate arm will rise and the screen will display “drive safely.”

*Pre-paid parking is not available day of show.

PURCHASE YOUR PARKING EXIT PASS IN ADVANCE

Bring your pre-purchased parking pass with you to the show and exchange for an exit pass or purchase your exit pass at the box office or parking stations at the show.

The Belk Theatre

430 South Tryon St.

Levine Center For The Arts

Charlotte, NC 28202