ASO: Samson et Delila

So many beautiful voices! So much wow in Samson et Delila! When Blythe unleashed her voice, she owned the room. She really did. And Skelton voiced his part with as much character as excellence. I saw in his bio that Grimsley did Bluebeard’s Castle and I’d really love to hear that after hearing his High Priest. And the chorus! What a great sound they had tonight! Even though they are absent from the 2nd act, this opera really let them shine from the beginning and left me as impressed with them as any of the soloists. Every bit of the performance was well played by the orchestra, too. I would have loved an encore of the ballets, which I find absolutely gorgeous and the playing of which was nothing short of exceptional. Lots of wow.

This is the first time that I’ve listened to this opera live and also the first that I’ve listened with titles so that I could follow what was being sung. I was curious as to whether this would make me like the opera more, but it hasn’t. A lot of Camille Saint-Saëns’ music has always been a bit odd for me: even though I tend to like — if not love — every individual part of some pieces of his music, I find that I’m generally not terribly excited by those pieces as a whole. It’s like the whole is less than the sum of its parts for me. I can’t understand why, to be honest; I’ve never noticed any kind of incongruity to his works nor do I generally not like the endings. I kind of feel the same way about a lot of Khachaturian’s works. I think that both composers are brilliant and they both have a lot of works to which I don’t react this way, but there’s this strange “meh” factor for me in a lot of their works despite being about to point to specific parts of each piece and talking expansively about how great they are. Is it just me or does anyone else feel that way?

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