Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom




Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila (1877)
Charles Alves da Cruz - Samson; Klara Uleman - Dalila; Peter Michailov - High Priest of Dagon; Mourad Amirkhanian - Abimélech; Vincent Le Texier - Old Hebrew; Wil van der Meer - First Philistine; Charlotte Besijn - Philistine Messenger (acting); Maaike Widdershoven - Philistine Messenger (voice); Wivineke van Groningen - Military Doctor; Opera Spanga/David Levi
Directed by Corina van Eijk
filmed in the Netherlands 2007
Picture format 16:9; Sound format: Dolby Digital
Experience Classicsonline

Let me start by saying that this is not a filmed performance but an opera film. Obviously the soundtrack was produced first and then the actors have been miming. Mostly this works very well but there are a few occasions where the synchronisation falters. This matters very little. What to some viewers and listeners might be more of a nuisance is the very close recording of the voices. They are there right up in your face even when they are seen in the distance. The acoustics are studio-bound also when the action takes place in the open but as so often one adjusts to such anomalies when/if the drama is engaging and the performance is good. I will try to give a general description of what director Corina van Eijk has aimed at and how it works and then leave it to the readers to decide whether this is their cup of tea or not. I was deeply moved and fascinated by the performance - but felt initially strongly antipathetic; my wife left after twenty minutes and refused to come back.
The original action takes place in Gaza in Old Testament time and has in this production been transported in time to the present day and deals with the political conflicts in the Middle East – but the situation is of course reversed: in 1115 B.C. the Philistines oppressed the Israelites; in this film it is the Israelis that oppress the Palestinians and the High Priest of Dagon has a black patch over one eye and looks very much like Moshe Dayan, the former Israeli military leader. Set among sand dunes, rusty cars or indoors in shabby and worn houses it is a horrifying tale about oppression, humiliation, violence and scorn but also more than one dose of blatant carnal sexuality. The bacchanal is accompanying a scene in a delivery ward with a number of women in labour pains hyper-ventilating in grotesque close-ups, finally delivering at the same time well shaped soldiers-to-be, who are collectively taken care of by uniformed husbands. Samson in prison laboriously pedals a cycle exerciser, naked; a woman guard sprays ice-cold water on him with a hose; well-fed officers look on, mockingly. I could go on for pages but this will, hopefully, give an idea of what kind of performance this is. It is possibly the most cruel, brutal and cynical opera production made.
Opera Spanga is a Dutch company led by Corina van Eijk. They have been producing controversial performances since 1989 and besides this Samson et Dalila they have also filmed Rigoletto. Among the extras on the DVD there is also a sequence from the filming and interviews with the director and the two protagonists. None of the singers are particularly well known, with the exception of Vincent Le Texier, who has recorded extensively. They have been chosen very carefully for their acting skills – and for their looks: you believe in them and especially the Dutch mezzo Klara Uleman’s Dalila is masterly, first as the seductress and then as the callous and cruel ruler. The Portuguese tenor Charles Alves da Cruz’s Samson is also an impressive achievement and his singing in the prison scene is deeply moving. What surprised me most of all was that Saint-Saëns’ rather conventional 19th century, oratorio-like music didn’t in the least sound out of place with the present day setting. On the contrary there was a kind of cross-fertilization that made the message come over to the listener/onlooker even stronger. The camera-work is superb and brings the onlooker into the middle of the action.
There was no booklet with my copy and the text on the back-cover of the box was in Dutch only. On the other hand there was enough information among the extras on the DVD.
The verdict then? As soon as I came to terms with the basic concept I found it a deeply engaging performance, but I can believe that many readers who expect a traditional biblical setting might react the way my wife did. Regard this review as trade description and see whether you want the goods or prefer something more conventional.
Göran Forsling


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1





Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.