High Priest.............Laurent Naouri
Today was the HD broadcast of Camille Saint-Saëns' opera Samson et Dalila. There was a lot of complaining about this very flashy production, but except for the rather perverse ballet I loved it. I can't help wondering if the Philistines would have dressed so colorfully and the Israelites in contrast so drably. One imagines really more similarity. The production handled well the task I normally assign to it--explaining the plot. Each transition of the story is well demonstrated.
What made this performance work so much better than any I have seen before was our extraordinary pair of very sexy lovers. Both Roberto Alagna and Elina Garanca sang beautifully. Roberto explained in the intermission that he is allergic to smoke, which I assume referred to the flames seen all about the stage in the form of both torches and fixed flames. Perhaps by this performance they were successful in curtailing the smoke. I was happy to see that both Roberto and Elina received loud standing ovations. It was a pleasure to hear and see them.
Laurent Naouri, Natalie Dessay's husband, is a lovely cheerful person who has to work very hard to seem villainous.