Eboracum Baroque return to the beautiful rectory gardens at Wimpole Hall for a performance of Handel’s famous oratorio, Samson. Relax in the idyllic surroundings with a picnic and hear some of Handel’s most dramatic music performed by top young soloists, chorus and a baroque orchestra who all specialise in his music.
An opera in all but name, Samson tells the story of the last days of the Israelite warrior and of his journey from darkness to heavenly light. Opening with Samson in chains, having lost his strength and been blinded by the Philistines, it follows his battle against his captors, duelling with a giant and his final act to defeat his enemies.
This oratorio showcases grand choruses and virtuosic orchestral playing, as well as featuring some of his most famous arias including ‘Total Eclipse’ and ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’.
Tickets available via the National Trust website here
The action takes place ‘before the prison in Gaza.’ Samson, the Israelite warrior, has been captured and blinded by the Philistines, who were helped by his wife Dalila cutting off his hair and thus depriving him of his strength.
The Philistines are holding a festival in honour of Dagon, their god, and Samson has been temporarily released to receive visits from friends. Micah is appalled by the depths to which he has fallen, but Samson blames only himself for succumbing to a woman. He is also visited by his Manoah, who reveals that he is trying to negotiate his release, but this only makes Samson long the more for death. His friends attempt to console him with thoughts of the eternal life to come.
Samson is visited by Dalila, full of conspicuous remorse for her ‘rash, misthought deed’ but Samson rejects her angrily. Next comes the Philistine giant Harapha. Samson challenges him to combat but Harapha disdains to fight a blind slave. Samson’s friend, Micah suggests to Samson that he ask the Philistine god, Dagon to display his power and the act ends with both the Philistines and Israelites rejoicing in their respective deities.
Harapha the giant invites Samson to show off his strength at the feast. Samson initially declines with scorn, but on feeling his strength returning agrees to go to the festival but warns the Israelites to stay away. Samson’s father, Manoah unaware of Samson’s plans arrives to continue to negotiate his release. The nearby sound of the Philistines revelling in their feast day is interrupted by shouts of horror and woe. An Israelite messenger enters, and tells how Samson pulled the temple down upon the Philistines and himself causing their joint destruction. The Israelites lament the loss of their great warrior before ending the oratorio singing praise and thanksgiving to their God.
Samson – Nils Greenhow
Dalila, Wife of Samson – Charlotte Bowden
Micah, Friend to Samson – Alex Osborne
Manoa, Father to Samson – John Holland Avery
Harapha, A Giant – Jamie Woollard
Israelite Woman – Naomi Sturges
Philistine Woman – Tamsin Raitt
Israelite Woman – Laura Baldwin
Israelite – Mark Williams
Messenger – Owen Winter
An orchestra of strings, oboes and trumpets.
Saturday 6th July 2019
19.00 - 21.30