Opera Scotland

Camille Saint-Saëns Suggest updates

Charles Camille Saint-Saëns

Born Paris, 9 October 1835.

Died Algiers, 16 December 1921.

French composer and pianist.

The concert career of Saint-Saëns, both as pianist and organist, lasted some 75 years. He continued to compose chamber music up to the time of his death, and while those late works seemed old-fashioned at the time, their quality can now be seen. He had an astonishing piano technique from childhood, and several of his concertos are still performed regularly.

His operatic career was perhaps less spectacular, though successful enough in its day. La princesse jaune is a delightful trifle, and Henry VIII has also been revived occasionally. His operatic reputation nowadays, however, rests entirely on Samson et Dalila. This work took several years to become established because of the opposition in France and Britain to the biblical subject-matter. Once performed, it quickly became one of the most popular works in the French repertoire, though that position has not been entirely maintained in recent years.

Operas performed in Scotland are shown in bold:-

01   La princesse jaune (Paris 1872) (Gallet)

02   Le déluge () ()

03   Le timbre d'argent (Paris 1877) ()

04   Samson et Dalila (Weimar 1877) (Lemaire)

05   Étienne Marcel (Lyons 1879) ()

06   Henry VIII (Paris 1883) (Detroyat & Silvestre)

07   Proserpine (Paris 1887) ()

08   Ascanio (Paris 1890) (Gallet)

09   Phryné (Paris 1893) ()

10   Frédégonde (1895) (completion, with Dukas, of opera by Guiraud)

11   Les barbares (Paris 1901) ()

12   Hélène (Monte Carlo 1904) ()

13   L'ancêtre (Monte Carlo 1906) ()

14   Déjanire (Monte Carlo 1911) (cpsr & Gallet)

Roles in Scotland

Samson et Dalila

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