The definitive Delilah of our day, Olga Borodina has been praised by Allan Ulrich in the San Francisco Chronicle for her "gloriously voluptuous singing." The Russian mezzo-soprano reprises ...
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The definitive Delilah of our day, Olga Borodina has been praised by Allan Ulrich in the San Francisco Chronicle for her "gloriously voluptuous singing." The Russian mezzo-soprano reprises her seductive performance as the tantalizing temptress in an eagerly awaited revival of Saint-Saëns' biblical epic. Tenor Clifton Forbis, whose powerful voice has thrilled audiences from Vienna to Los Angeles, plays the Old Testament hero loses his heart, his hair and finally his strength. Patrick Summers returns to the San Frnacisco Opera podium to conduct the lavish production.Written by
Borodina commands the production in a masterful performance
Samson and Delilah is a great Biblical story, and the opera has really wonderful music, so in short I do like the opera very much. And I found much to enjoy to this San Francisco performance. It does have two failings. The performance does start off rather dull, lacking in urgency and too much focus on sentimentality. Clifton Forbis has some fine dramatic moments, but his Samson is uninspired with some dry and unmusical tone. Patrick Summers' conducting is impressive at times, but on the whole unexciting and overly-relaxed. However, the costumes and sets are colourful with a very Cecil B DeMille influence. The depiction of Dagon is the best touch. The dancing choreography at least has some vitality especially with the nymphs in Act 1 and the Bacchanale, while the orchestral playing has musicality and elegant beauty, especially in Delilah's arias. Once Olga Borodina arrives on stage, the staging becomes much more interesting. Borodina is masterful in this role, her tone is luscious and firm and her acting wholly commanding. That is not to dispute Juha Uusitalo, who is an excellent High Priest, Oren Gradus who is equally commanding in the role of the Old Hebrew and Eric Jordan who is gripping in his debut. On the whole, a decent production saved by Borodina. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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