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September 2001
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November 2001

Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix comme s'ouvre les fleurs

Yesterday I went and saw Saint-Saëns most famous opera Samson et Dalila with my father, who was here for the weekend, ostensibly for a pre-auction showing at Butterfields that didn't happen. The opera was the best one overall that I've seen this season. The music and singing were all fairly good, and Olga Borodina, the mezzo-soprano who played Dalila, has just an incredible voice. She's a good actress too. Sergey Larin has a nice voice as well, but he was only really brilliant in the first scene of Act III, when he laments to God as he turns a millstone in prison. He was able to sing beautifully despite being in some odd doubled-over positions that probably aren't ideal for singing. Timothy Noble (Priest) and René Pape (An Old Hebrew) had very lovely voices that were consistently good throughout the performance. There were also two ballets in this opera, and the corps du ballet was quite good as they were in Arshak II. The dancers were the same as far as I could tell.

The only serious problem with the opera was the operation of the curtains. The placement of something must have been off because one of the curtains and the overscreen kept snagging each time they raised either of them. The audience was very immature about the whole thing, and whenever they mananged to get it okay, they would applaud. One would think that the stage crew would have it all set up correctly, as yesterday's performance was the last one.