Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saens
Whether you're an opera afficianado or you've never been to one in your life, you'll recognize Delilah's sumptuous romantic arias from Camille Saint-Saens' grand opera Samson and Delilah. Its premier on 2 December 1877 in Weimar owes much to classical music history's great patron Franz Liszt.
Saint-Saens went to Germany to see the revival of Wagner's Das Rheingold under the baton of Liszt. The then musical director of the Weimar hall was highly interested in producing new works by talented composers and persuade the younger man to finish the opera. Although he was no longer musical director at the Weimar hall in 1877 when the work was ready, he still exerted a great deal of influence and, as an enthusiastic supporter of Samson and Delilah, brought about its premier.
The opera since evolved into a kind of 'star vehicle', launching many renowned tenors and mezzosopranos from Enrico Caruso to Shirley Verrett, and has become the epitomy of French opera. Enjoy this recording of beautiful French arias including Amour Viens Aider from Samson and Delilah.
Find out more about how Liszt's patronage helped another of classical music's genius' with our special article.