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Saint-Saens: Samson Et Dalila

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Using the example of the impossible love between the Jew Samson and the Philistine Dalila, Camille Saint-Saens shows the deadly conflict between two hostile cultures and religions. Staged by the Flanders Opera Company in Antwerp in 2009, Saint-Saens' opera Samson et Dalila is re-located in this production to the contemporary Middle East. The two directors, Israeli Omri Nitzan and Palestinian Amir Nizar Zuabi, explore the tensions between different nations and religions, and the complex relationship between the oppressors and the oppressed. 'In our approach to this opera we tried to move away from the quasi-biblical interpretation, and to place the story in today's world to explain its political aspects better,' say the two directors. 'Acts of terror by a state will lead to acts of terror against a state, which in turn will lead to more terror by the state and this completes the vicious circle.' Performed by the Symphonic Orchestra and Choir of Vlaamse Opera Antwerp/Gent under the baton of Czech conductor Tomas Netopil, Samson is sung by the young German tenor Torsten Kerl and Dalila by the Russian mezzo-soprano Marianna Tarasova. The kaleidoscopic colours of the music are brought out with sensitivity and lyricism by the orchestra and singers, unfolding the dramatic story in all its tragic beauty. With this production the intendant, Aviel Cahn, hopes to elucidate the future course he intends to follow with the Flanders Opera: bringing opera to today's people. Samson and Dalila promises to be a production that no serious opera connoisseur would want to miss.

\The allegory of Samson and Delilah directed by the Israeli-Palestinian Duo Amir Nizar-Zuabi and Omri Nitzan is not only an important contribution to raise awareness of this necessity. It represents, moreover, the spearhead of a successful and respectful inter-cultural dialog which should serve as a model to the wider world." Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU-Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy (In her role as patron for the staging)

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