composed by Saint-Saëns
The story of Samson and Delilah is found in the Old Testament. Gaza, an ancient city of Israel, was once ruled by the Philistines. However, the Hebrew hero Samson killed the governor of Gaza. In revenge, the Philistine beauty Delilah tempted Samson to reveal his weakness. This led to the aria “Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix”, sung at the climax of Delilah’s seduction. The aria, written for a mezzo-soprano, beautifully expresses the seductive atmosphere and Delilah’s intense passion. It’s considered one of the finest arias in all opera.
In the scores, the solo part plays both Delilah’s and Samson’s parts. In the duets period, Delilah’s part is played by the piano and the solo instrument plays Samson’s part. Samson’s part is written in a lower range, emphasizing the contrast with Delilah’s part.
The original piece is written in D-flat major, which can be challenging for some string players. Therefore, for cello, there are two versions available: one in D-flat major and another in G major. Violin and viola versions are only in G major.