Saint-Saens: Samson et Dalila

COMPOSERS: Saint-Saens
WORKS: Samson et Dalila
PERFORMER: Christa Ludwig, James King, Bernd Weikl, Alexander Malta; Bavarian Radio Chorus, Munich Radio Orchestra/Giuseppe Patané
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 32244 2 ADD Reissue
Saint-Saëns’s retelling of this Biblical tale is among the grandest of all grand operas, and needs three strong voices for the central roles: King’s heroic, slightly edgy tone seems just right, and Weikl is a suitably imposing High Priest. As Delilah, Ludwig sounds more matronly than seductive and her covered vowels obscure much of the text. On the whole, this 1973 Munich recording feels rather studio-bound. Stephen Maddock