Samson et Dalila
17th January 2016 · 6:00 pm
23rd January 2016 · 7:00 pm
Stage Direction, Set Designer and Lighting Designer
La Fura dels Baus. Carlus Padrissa
Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana
Francesc Perales, chorus master
Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana
High Priest of Dagon
Alejandro López *
Emmanuel Faraldo *
* Centre Plácido Domingo
In the biblical city of Gaza, around the year 115 B.C.
Jews gather in the square of the Dagon temple, they are slaves of the Philistines. In front of the pagan temple they beg Yahveh to release them from their suffering and the humiliation of being in captivity. One of them, Samson, raises his voice above the Hebrew crowd and encourages his co-religionists to rise against their oppressors. The commotion causes Abimelech, the governor of Gaza, to draw near. Taken aback by Samson’s actions, the governor makes fun of him. In a prophetic tone of voice, Samson (the new spokesman for his fellow countrymen) announces that the final hour of the Philistines has come, and he kills the satrap with his own sword. Alerted by the ensuing uproar, the high priest of Dagon (who was inside the temple) urges the Philistines to take revenge for the death of their governor. But his words have little effect as they run away from the commotion that has been caused by the Hebrews. Inspired by the hope of freedom, Samson and his fellow countrymen are singing hymns of gratitude and praising Yahveh, when Dalila, accompanied by a large group of Philistine girls, comes to pay homage to the captives, who are momentarily victorious in their rebellion. But her visit is sure to hide a more dubious motive. She surprises Samson, who is deep in prayer, and invites him back to her home. An old Hebrew warns him of the danger of this woman for him and for everyone. But he is already under Dalila’s spell of seduction.
At night. Outside Dalila’s home. Sorek valley
Dalila waits for Samson at the door to her house, planning what to do with him next. The high priest of Dagon arrives and asks her to try and discover the secret to Samson’s great strength. Their conversation, in the midst of a storm, ends with Dalila’s determination to coax the coveted secret from the Hebrew. Amidst thunder and lightning, Samson arrives at Dalila’s house, his heart and soul divided between the attraction he feels for her and the loyalty he owes to his god and his people. Although it is not an easy task, Dalila finally manages to persuade Samson to enter her home, but he only agrees so that he can end the compromising situation and leave the Philistine woman. Aware that her strategy hangs from the thread of desire, Dalila does all she can to seduce the Jew and, when he has succumbed to her embrace, succeeds in getting him to confide his secret to her. At that moment, she hands him over to the Philistine soldiers who were lying in waiting to capture him.
Scene one. Gaza prison.
Samson, weak and blind, is chained to the wheel of a mill, which he has to turn. Outside, in the streets of Gaza, the Hebrew people are captive once more. Samson turns his blind eyes to his inner god, begging him for forgiveness, while the Jews reproach him for succumbing to Dalila. During this moment of regret and reproaches, the Philistine soldiers arrive to take Samson to Dagon temple, to expose him to public ridicule.
Scene two. Inside Dagon temple.
The Philistine people have gathered inside Dagon temple, together with Dalila and the Dagon high priest, to celebrate the recent victory against the rebel slaves. Subjected to ridicule and taunts, Samson witnesses a sacred orgy in which Dalila takes the opportunity to confess her meditated deception to Samson. Once the orgy is over, Samson is led to the centre of the temple where he is made to worship Dagon. A boy positions the blind Hebrew between the pillars that support the temple and, begging god to give him back his strength just one last time, he manages to pull the pillars down, burying the Philistine people beneath the stones.