Monday, February 28, 2011

Samson and Delilah

Once in a while reminders of age come up and slap me in the face. Today I saw a DVD of the Camille Sans Seans opera, Samson and Delilah with Placido Domingo and Shirley Verrett. [What a couple! vocally speaking.] While I like Sans Seans piano concerts and parts of his symphonies I found the opera mostly boring. It was a 1989 production from San Francisco and the costumer had totally lost his/her head with outfits from fancifully Assyrian to French Empire -- which was very, very distracting. I've never seen Verrett live or on video and she was very wonderful, while Domingo at that period in his life was certainly very virile in the Roman gladiator outfits he was given but he looked like a patient on cortisone with a puffy face and a ridiculous wig. I had time to notice all these annoyances because the opera was a production mad attempt to hide the fact that it started as an oratorio and should have remained so -- except for the extremely sexy ballet dancer in the bacchanale.

Anyway when it was over a little man in the class said to the commentator that he remembered the movie of Samson and Delilah with Victor Mature and, who was Delilah? Without even thinking I said, "Hedy Lammar. I had had a clear flashback of Victor Mature pulling down the temple pillars even as I was watching Domingo do the same. As I walked to the car I thought, Good heavens, that must have been the early '50s -- I've got 60 years of movie history in my memory. How on earth did I get to be so old?

P.S. - at a break in the opera someone said loudly, "Who were the Philistines?" A man reading on his Kindle, after only a few seconds, began reading about Philistinians in Anatolia who were the predecessors of the present day Palestinians. He had simply tapped into his dictionary. Instant information! "Where's Anatolia?" said the first person. I knew that answer to that having traveled there, a much newer memory than the movie.


Kass said...

Yep, the Delilah aria is about all there is worth remembering.


Yes, we sometimes seem like walking dictionaries when someone younger asks a question. I look at it in this way -- as we age we become the vessels of knowledge -- how great is that! -- barbara

June Calender said...

Right you are Kass -- I'm Verdi lover, all those melodies made to sing!

"vessels of knowledge"-- thanks Barbara. Once in a while maybe even a little bit of wisdom. Or so I hope.