General description

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Compositeur : RAMEAU, Jean-Philippe (1683-1764)
Auteur du texte : VOLTAIRE, François Arouet dit (1694-1778)
Composition : ca 1734 

Genre : Tragédie lyrique (Prologue et 5 actes)
Catalogue : RCT 56 

Non représenté - Musique perdue

Synopsis :

Prologue. Bacchus and Hercules pay tribute to Voluptuousness. Virtue appears and presents Samson as a hero torn between his power and that of Cupid (L’Amour).

I. Gathered on the banks of the river Adonis, the Israelites deplore their captivity. The high-priest of the idols asks them to abandon their God. Samson enters and overturns the altars. He calls on his companions to rebel.

II. In the palace, a Philistine bursts in and informs the king that Samson has freed the Israelites and is now marching on the royal dwelling. On his arrival, Samson claims to be sent by God. The king asks him for proof. Samson causes fountains to appear and lightning to strike. The king requests time to consult the gods. The Hebrews celebrate their victory.

III. The king implores the gods’ help. The oracle answers that only love can sway Samson. Delilah (Dalila) is then asked to attract him. Samson appears for the combat, but falls asleep on hearing harmonious sounds. Delilah enters, awakens Samson and tries to charm him. The Hebrews call him away from her. Remaining alone, Delilah becomes aware of her love for Samson.

IV. The high-priest instructs Delilah to discover the secret of Samson’s invincibility. Delilah invokes Cupid’s help and asks Samson to marry her. The temple of Venus appears; Samson accepts her proposal. Delilah finally extorts the secret of his strength from him. After a sudden clap of thunder the Philistines capture the hero. Desperate, Delilah curses the gods and is about to join Samson in death.

V. In his prison, Samson awaits his punishment. The Hebrews inform him of Delilah’s death. Samson implores God’s mercy. The king scorns him and blasphemes. Samson then pretends to have revelations to make. After having the Hebrews leave the temple and making sure the king is surrounded only by his soldiers, he shakes the columns. The curtain falls on the collapsing temple.

[Patrick Florentin]


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