Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Saint-Saens - Samson et Dalila / Domingo Borodina Leiferkus Fink Levine Metropolitan Opera|
Actors: Saint-Saens, Placido Domingo, Olga Borodina, James Levine, Sergei Leiferkus
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
SAINT-SAENS:SAMSON ET DALILA - DVD Movie
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Vocal fireworks that takes place in a volcano
Charles D. novak | minneapolis, minnesota USA | 09/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The star of this production is Jimmy Levine and his outstanding Metropolitan Orchestra. He turns this oratorio into a sizzling opera. Too bad the singers acting doesn't ignite as well. Domingo and Borodina are in excellent voice, but seem totally uninvolved in their characters. Borodina especially is not the temptress and sex goddess that Dalila ia supposed to be. She stands and sings note perfect, but there is no interaction between her and Domingo - sparks don't fly even though the lighting director seemed to be in love with the color red. And where does this thing take place, a volcano? There are the mandatory bumps and grinds in the "bring down the temple" sequence, but the real action is all in the orchestra. I'm not sorry I bought this DVD, but when I want a more total production, I'll go back to the San Francisco version."
Better aurally than visually...
S. J McKenna | San Francisco, CA USA | 10/16/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The costumes and sets are not different enough from traditional to justify their odd effects. It all just seems silly. There is no inspiration here, just red paint and kindergarten fingerprinted hand prints as "design".
But, I don't buy opera for the great visuals in the main. I'm grateful when they are there, but I can deal with most anything in that department.
However, even in the aural department, this just didn't ignite for me. Lieferkus (whom I very much like) is the wrong voice for French opera. Olga Borodina (whom I really really like) was fine, but too phlegmatic in personality for me as Dalila (better when I just listened). Domingo (Old Reliable)was in vintage Domingo form, and in Samson's great aria he was wonderful. But, all in all, this didn't light my fire. I'll go back to the San Francisco version and see how Shirley Verrett and a younger Domingo compare."
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 10/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD of Saint-Saens Samson ET Dalila is more than just a tape of an operatic performance. At the end of the performance that was taped in 1998 Placido Domingo was honored for his 30 years at "the Met" plus for his 17th opening night at that company. The well deserved praises were delivered by various "big wigs" of opera and by the then mayor of New York City, Giulani (SP ?) who embarrassingly mispronounces Domingo's first name in his presentation (he must not be too much of an opera fan because, I feel that anyone that knows anything about opera would know how to pronounce Placido Domingo's name.) Anyway, it was a very moving, well-deserved tribute to a singer that has given so much to the operatic world and has to be one of the hardest working performers in the profession. I, as well as Placido, was moved to tears. Now about the performance.
It is obvious when currently hearing/viewing Domingo that time has slipped by-more girth, some jowls and some difficulty getting up from a semi-recumbent position with Dalila. Vocally, however, time has not, too much taken its toll. Granted he dodges some of the high notes and the ones he sings are approached carefully. Nevertheless, he sing Samson like no body else can singing the role wonderfully and knowingly mainly due to his many years of experience. He still is truly an amazing artist!
By no stretch of the imagination would, (at least in this performance), anyone think of Olga Borodina as a seductress (I think she was pregnant at the time) no more than they would think that she could really dance in the first act; however, vocally she pours out marvelous sounds producing a singular column of sound with no register breaks all the way up to the ferocious, pin them to the wall, high B flat in act two. All that I can say is Brava.
Sergei Leiferkus (really not at home in French opera) does the nasty High Priest very well. Rene Pape as the old Hebrew is truly (once his voice warms up) luxury casting.
The production is one of those "minimum stagings" that I am beginning to like more and more-I'm afraid that I really don't get all of the symbolism (i.e., hand prints on the costumes and wild hair styles) however, I enjoyed it. (I have to agree with a previous reviewer that the set does resemble a volcano.)
James Levine conducts the score knowingly taking it from a mere oratorio to an opera at its most exciting.
In closing, I truly am glad that I have added this well-sung performance of Samson ET Dalila to my collection-it wonderfully pays homage to one of opera's true legends.
Really 3 1/2 Stars
DAJ | New York, NY | 09/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I wavered between three and four stars for this one. I have a personal love of this production, as it is one of the very first I ever saw at the Met (in the 97-98 season). Dalilah was played in those first productions by Denyce Graves, who is a wonderful opera actress, and very beautiful. Though Borodina's voice easily trumps hers, I found Graves' portrayal to be superior. This production was created for Borodina, who skipped the first year because she was pregnant. The performance on this DVD is the opening night of the 98-99 season.
There are some great moments here--when Dalilah makes her first appearance emerging from the impressionistic fields, dancing in the short but well-choreographed ballet scene--then sings "Printemps qui commence." Both Borodina and Domingo are in good voice--which is good, because the entire staging of the second act relies on their singing. The blocking is horible, there is no real chemistry between them, Domigo's acting is leaden, and Borodina has two looks--now I'm seductive, now I'm calculating. BUT THE VOICE--when she sings "Mon coeur souffle a ta voix," and when she releases that sublime "Ah! reponds a ma tendresse," pretty much all is forgiven. Fortunately for the last act there is another well choreographed ballet--this time the famous Bacchanale--because the rest of it is static.
The sheer power and tone of Domingo's voice, and Borodina's beautiful tone really make this worth seeing. The sets, as is so often the case, are really beautiful on stage, and not as effective on screen--but it is an inventive, colorful production."