Synopsis by Craig Butler
In ancient Palestine, the Hebrews live as slaves under the Philistines. Samson, a Hebrew of enormous strength, appears and leads a revolt and kills the Philistine leader Abimelech after Abimelech tries to force the Hebrews to worship Dagon, a Philistine god. After his success, the beautiful, seductive Philistine Dalila entreats Samson to come to her that night, intending to trick him and learn the secret of his unnatural strength. Samson goes to Dalila and falls prey to her trickery, after which he is captured, blinded and led away. The Hebrews are once again in the power of the Philistines due to Samson's weakness with Dalila, and the once-mighty Samson is brought into a Philistine temple. There, he is ordered to pray to Dagon. Samson seems to acquiesce, but as he is led to the altar, he prays that his God will restore his strength for one last victory. His prayer is granted, and Samson smashes the columns that support the stone temple, bringing destruction to the temple and death to both his oppressors and himself. Among the many popular arias from this work are "Printemps qui commence," "Israël! romps ta chaîne" and "Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix."