Camille Saint-Saƫns

Samson et Dalila

Opera in three acts
The libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire
Based on the story of Samson and Delilah from the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament

World premiere: Weimar, December 2, 1877
Premiere in Georgia: Tbilisi, December 8, 1894

Samson – Konstantine Kipiani
Dalila - Irina Sherazadishvili
High Priest of Dagon - Giorgi Lomiseli
Abimélech, satrap of Gaza - Legi Imedashvili
First Philistine - Philipe Ghachava
Second Philistine - Irakli Mujiri
Philistine Messenger - Aleksandre Tibelishvili
Old Hebrew - Gocha Datusani

Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre Chorus, Orchestra and Ballet Company

Music Director of the production and conductor Zaza Azmaiparashvili
Chorus Master Avtandil Chkhenkeli
Assistant conductors Levan Jagaev, Kakhi Solomnishvil

Stage Director Jean-Louis Grinda
Assistant Directors Zaza Aghladze, Khatuna Bedeladze

Set and Costume designer Agostino Arrivabene
Lighting Designer Laurent Castaingt
Chief lighting technician Stefano Gorreri
Choreographer Eugénie Andrin

Stage Manager Marina Burchuladze

Production of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo

Artistic Director
Badri Maisuradze

*The late-comers will not be allowed in until the first intermission.





In the square in Gaza, the Hebrews pray to God for deliverance from the Philistines slavery; Samson, their leader, rebukes them for their faithlessness. The Philistine commander Abimelech reproaches the Hebrews and their God, and Samson slays him. The high priest of Dagon comes from the Philistine temple and curses Samson's unusual strength.  The old Hebrew praises Samson.

Samson's former lover, the Philistine woman Dalilah, appears and invites him to come that night to her lodging nearby. She and her maidens dance seductively for Samson. In vain the Hebrew spells out dark prophecies for him, Samson hears nothing.



In the valley of Sorek, Dalila appeals to her gods to help her disarm and avenge Samson. She promises the high priest to find a way to weaken him.

Samson appears to tell Dalila that they must finally end their relationship, but eventually submits to her charms. Triumphant Dalila demands that he show his love by entrusting her with the secret of his power, and rebukes him for his disloyalty when he refuses. Rolls of thunder sounds like a God's warning from God to Samson, but he cannot resist and follows Dalila into the house. Soon after, learning that the secret of Samson's strength is in his long hair, she calls for the hidden Philistine soldiers who are to arrest and blind Samson.



In the underground dungeon of Gaza, a blinded and humiliated Samson pushes a mill round, praying for his people who suffer for his sin.

In the temple of Dagon, a bacchanalia is in progress. Dalilah and the high priest mock Samson. When they force him to kneel before Dagon, he asks the boy to lead him to the two main pillars of the temple. Samson prays to God to give him his strength back and with a mighty effort he brings down the pillars and the temple, crushing himself and his enemies.