A Downfall of Biblical Proportions
Samson and Delilah
Music by Camille Saint-Saëns
Libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire
Premiered December 2, 1877, Ducal Theatre, Weimar
Opera Colorado closes the season with Saint-Saëns’s operatic take on the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. Samson, leader of the Hebrews, is a man of super-human strength. He has one true weakness, and it’s the sultry Delilah’s job to discover it and ensure victory for the Philistines. Indulge in a performance of stunning visuals, epic dance, and some of opera’s most gorgeously evocative music culminating in a finale that literally brings the house down.
May 4, 7, 10, 12 | 2024
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at Denver Performing Arts Complex
Performed in French, with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat.
Estimated Length: 2 hours, and 10 minutes
*Join us one hour prior to each performance at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for a free and insightful pre-performance lecture.
Set Designer Peter Dean Beck
Scenery provided by Pittsburgh Opera
Costumes provided by Sarasota Opera Association, Inc.
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Recent engagements for Puerto Rican tenor Rafael Davila include his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Don José in Carmen, Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut for San Francisco Opera, Liceu de Barcelona and Opera de Valencia, the world-premiere of Jimmy Lopez’s Bel Canto for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli and the Macerata Festival in Italy, Aida for Valencia, and his debut at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in a Zarzuela Gala Concert. In the 2021-22 Season, he performed in Tosca (Cavaradossi) with Opera Colorado, Turandot (Calàf) for the Evansville Philharmonic, Carmen (Don José) for Opera de Puerto Rico opposite Puerto Rican diva Ana Maria Martinez, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Tosca and Don Carlos. His engagements in the 2022-23 Season include a return to Sarasota Opera for Ernani, the Metropolitan Opera for Don Carlo, and a new production of Cherubini’s Medea, Pagliacci for the Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and Tosca with Opera Memphis. Rafael has appeared in the Zarzuelas Los Gavilanes, Luisa Fernanda, Maria La O, Cecilia Valdés, and El Huesped del Sevillano. He has been nominated two times at The Grammy Awards for the recordings of Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla and Rafael Hernández’s operetta Cofresi.
Katharine Goeldner’s unique gifts have taken her to stages and concert platforms throughout the U.S. and Europe in an astonishing range of repertory. Katharine’s performances in recent seasons include Samson and Delilah (Dalilah) at Virginia Opera; Das Rheingold (Fricka) at Minnesota Opera; Der Rosenkavalier (Annina) at The Metropolitan Opera; Salome (Herodias) with the Minnesota Orchestra, Tulsa Opera, and at Bard College; Eugene Onegin (Madam Larina) at the Santa Fe Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago; Die tote Stadt (Brigitta) in Toulouse; and Le nozze di Figaro (Marcellina) at the Dutch National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s The Grapes of Wrath (Ma Joad) at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She created the role of Jackie Onassis in JFK at Fort Worth Opera and later at Opéra de Montreal. An Iowa native, Katharine studied at Salzburg’s Mozarteum.
Panamanian-American baritone Nmon Ford’s recent highlights include his exceptionally reviewed performances as Don Giovanni at Dorset Festival Opera in the UK, and in the new Metropolitan Opera production of Porgy & Bess (Crown) in which he appeared at London’s English National Opera and at Dutch National Opera in The Netherlands. In Denver, he joined Opera Colorado’s Carmen (Escamillo), a role he also sang at Calgary Opera in Canada and in London at English National Opera. Recent career highlights include Salome (Jochanaan) with Patricia Racette at Pittsburgh Opera, Fidelio (Don Pizzaro) with Christine Goerke at Cincinnati Opera, and Otello (Iago) in concert with Atlanta Symphony with Russell Thomas in the title role. Earlier in his career Mr. Ford sang often at Hamburg State Opera in Germany and appeared in Tosca (Scarpia), Il Trovatore (Luna), the title role in Billy Budd, Death in Venice (The Traveler), and Iphigenie et Tauride (Thoas) under the baton of Simone Young; future engagements include Madama Butterfly (Sharpless) at Detroit Opera.
French-American bass Christian Zaremba, hailed for “stealing the evening” (The Washington Post) and being “ideally cast as the assassin Sparafucile, emerging from the shadows with his seething bass-baritone,” is equally at home under the lights of an operatic drama and concert stage. In the 2022-2023 Season, Mr. Zaremba will made debuts with Opera Colorado in Rigoletto (Monterone and Sparafucile) in Rigoletto, Seattle Opera in La Traviata (Marchese d’Obigny), and with Bard Festival in Saint-Saëns’ Henry VIII (“Le Legat” Campeggio). In the 2021-2022 Season, Christian Zaremba debuted the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with Austin Opera, made company debuts with L’Opéra de Montréal and Des Moines Metro Opera in Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro), Berkshire Opera Festival in Don Giovanni (Leporello), and La bohème (Colline) with New Orleans Opera. In Europe, he sang in The Magic Flute (Sarastro) with the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, and, in concert, Verdi’s Requiem with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and Taneyev’s At the Reading of a Psalm with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Appointed in 2015 as Opera Colorado’s first-ever music director, Ari Pelto’s “breathtaking wizardry in the pit” (The Denver Post) has been widely celebrated, with Pelto in demand at opera houses and concert halls throughout the United States. At the age of 24, Pelto was appointed Assistant Conductor at the Spoleto Festival and he has since gone on to conduct worldwide. International engagements include performances with Bochumer Philharmoniker and opera productions at New National Theatre of Tokyo and the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. In 2004 he made his highly-praised debut with New York City Opera, conducting La Traviata, after which he became a regular, returning for productions of Madama Butterfly, La bohème, and Carmen. Recent successes include Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Lucia di Lammermoor at Virginia Opera, and La Voix Humaine at Chicago Opera Theater.
Iranian pianist and conductor, Sahar Nouri, returns to Opera Colorado for a sixth season, serving as the company’s chorus master, assistant conductor, and pianist coach. Ms. Nouri is the newly appointed music director of the Lamont Opera Theatre at Denver University. While being based in Denver, she continues to serve as guest coach/faculty with various organizations including San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Opera North Carolina, Opera Steamboat and more.
Previously, Ms. Nouri has been a member of the music staff at Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Utah Opera, Aspen Opera Center, Opera Parallèle, and Opera in the Heights. Her repertoire includes numerous classic operas as well as many world premieres such as: Prince of Players (Carlisle Floyd), O Columbia! (Gregory Spears), Steal a Pencil for Me (Gerald Cohen), and Today It Rains (Laura Kaminsky). A multi-lingual, Nouri has done studies in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria, and is frequently in demand as a language coach and recitalist.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Keturah Stickann had a career as a classical and contemporary dancer, performing extensively in opera. Subsequently, her work as a stage director has been seen in many opera houses across the United States and Canada, as well as in Chile, Japan, France, Germany, Hungary, and Australia. A champion of new American opera, she has worked extensively with director and librettist, Leonard Foglia, and has helped to bring new operas to the stage by Ricky Ian Gordon, Jennifer Higdon, and Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer among others. In a creative solution for the Covid era, some of her more recent productions include the drive-in versions of La bohème and The Barber of Seville for San Diego Opera. Recent and future productions include Salome at Madison Opera, Don Giovanni at Minnesota Opera, and Intimate Apparel at Chautauqua. Keturah is an Artistic Advisor at Knoxville Opera.
For the past twenty-plus years, Rachael Harding has built her career around dance—as a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She received her B.F.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Arizona and a M.F.A in Dance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She began her professional career as a dancer in Denver’s Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. She is currently the resident choreographer for Denver’s professional jazz dance company, Davis Contemporary Dance Company, a performer with Nu-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, co-owner/director of Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, and owner/director of Miss Rachael’s Dance in Denver, where she is inspired to share her passion for the arts with young dancers every day. She has had the distinct honor of dancing in past Opera Colorado productions, including Nixon in China, The Pearl Fishers, Rusalka, and Josephine, and choreographing for Rusalka, Aida, The Barber of Seville, Josephine, and The Shining.
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Samson and Delilah
- 12 2024