Samson et Dalila

SF Opera's Cinemacasts Spring 2008

March 8-11 2008: La Rondine
March 29- April 1 2008: Samson et Dalila
April 12-15 2008: Don Giovanni 
April 19-22 2008: Madama Butterfly

West Coast Locations (North to South):

1 Galaxy Way
Monroe, WA 98272

Carmike 12
1331 N. Center Parkway
Kennewick, WA 99336

Carmike 12
750 NE Circle Boulevard
Corvalis, OR 97330

Cinema West
1241 Main Street
Fortuna, CA 95540

Cinema West
6868 McKinley Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Cinema West
Fiesta Plaza Shopping Center
200 Siesta Way
Sonoma, CA 95476 

Cinema West
Petaluma Blvd. at C Street
Petaluma, CA 94952

Cinema West
1228 S. Main Street
Angels Camp, CA 95222

Cinema West
9 Broadway Boulevard
Fairfax, CA 94930

2525 Patterson Road
Riverbank, CA 95367

Cinema West
2490 First Street
Livermore, CA 94550

UltraStar Flower Hill
2630 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014

UltraStar Mission Valley
7510 Hazard Center Drive #100
San Diego, CA 92108

The 120 locations do not include Los Angeles, Portland, or Seattle.

Press Release [PDF] | SF Opera at the Movies | Schedule

Pittsburgh Opera's 2008-2009 Season

October 18-26 2008: Samson et Dalila
November 15-23 2008: The Grapes of Wrath
February 7-15 2009: Don Pasquale
March 28- April 5 2009: La Bohème
May 2-10 2009: L'Italiana in Algeri

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is singing Dalila, which should be interesting. Vivica Genaux and William Burden sing the lead roles in L'Italiana, as they did in San Francisco a few seasons ago, and it is the same cute Santa Fe production as we saw here. Former Adler Fellow Sean Pannikar will sing Jim Casy in The Grapes of Wrath.

Official Site | Post-Gazette Article | Tribune-Review Article

Samson et Dalila at SF Opera

Rembrandt_2* Notes*
San Francisco Opera opened the 2007-2008 season with Samson et Dalila on September 7th. This 1980 production, by Nicolas Joël, was last revived in
2001. Douglas W. Schmidt's sets look dated from close up, they are a bit flat and at odd angles. The costumes also have suffered in the 27 years since Carrie Robbins designed them. They look like the Alma-Tadema paintings they were inspired by, but every piece of cloth used seemed to have a pattern on it. It looked like the chitons were made of leftover fabric for Easter dresses. However, from the back of the orchestra everything does look lovely, and this time around they managed to get the scrim working properly, it did not get caught on anything in the three performances I have seen.

Olga Borodina's voice is a bit rougher than I remembered, it has some harsh edges when she sang in the higher range at full-volume. She was still a rather sultry Dalila. Clifton Forbis was not inspiring as Samson, his voice was strained but otherwise passionless. In contrast, Juha Uusitalo (High Priest of Dagon) has a beautiful voice, and sings with much more ease. Disappointingly Oren Gradus did not quite have the lower range for the Old Hebrew. I was pleasantly surprised by the Abimélech, Eric Jordan, and curious to hear him in a more challenging role.

* Tattling *
I saw the final dress rehearsal during a corporate event and found it curious that Forbis did not sing full out, as he needed to save his voice for the opening. Borodina also saved her voice somewhat, but did sing audibly.

Everyone was all aflutter for the opening, two couples in standing room tried their best to block me out of my spot and could not be silent. They were repeatedly hushed. It was a good night for looking at fancy dresses and obvious plastic surgery. The flowers on the boxes were a bit naff this year, large squares of pink roses, lots of rose garlands, and random bits of greenery.

I was pleased to note that for the third performance, the scrim was not lowered until after the music ended for Act I, so that the audience, good monkeys that they are, refrained from clapping over the orchestra.

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.