L’Opera de Montreal is enjoying a very successful season, and they move from strength to strength. Their Facebook page counts nearly 15,000 ‘likes’, putting L’Opera de Montreal well into ‘cool’ status. This performance of Camille Saint-Saens’ work is a new production from the company.

Saint-Saens took a long time to compose Samson and Delilah, his second. For some reason, he started with Act II, and only started Act I years later. He enlisted the aid of a young relative, Ferdinand Lemaire to write the libretto for an oratorio, but the young Lemaire convinced Saint-Saens that the biblical story was better suited to an opera format. After starting in 1867, Saint-Saens finally completed the work for its first performance in 1877. It was a long and at times difficult process. Initial informal ‘test’ performances revealed a resistance from the public for an opera based on a Biblical story.

Not only did Saint-Saens’ Samson and Delilah become popular throughout the great European opera houses in the late 19th Century, his work endured as throughout the twentieth century and is still a mainstay for opera in the 21st Century. The great Enrico Caruso performed the role of Samson at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1916.

Marie-Nicole Lemieux will sing her very first Delilah in Montreal, making Saint-Saëns’ captivating melodies—including the irresistible “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix”—her own. Lemieux, a Quebec native has won many international competitions since her first major wins in 2000. In the span of three weeks, Lemieux won first prize at both the Jeunesse Musicale du Canada’s Joseph Rouleau Competition in Montreal and the Queen Elizabeth International Music Competition for opera in Brussels in 2000.

Since then, Marie-Nicole Lemieux has performed with many of the great conductors orchestras of the world. Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Ensemble Matheus, Les Violons du Roy, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, The National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Québec City Symphony, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and many others.

Alain Gauthier, stage director of Dead Man Walking, winner of the 2013 Opus Award for Musical Event of the Year, directs this new production for Opera de Montreal.

The energetic and highly talented Jean-Marie Zetouni will conduct the orchestra in what promises to be an engaging production of Saint-Saens’ operatic masterpiece.

Performances of this three-act opera are on January 24, 27, 29 and 31 in Salle Wilfrid Pelletier at Place des arts. For tickets, please call the PdA box office at 514-842-2112 or visit:

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