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Peerce is a very open, direct Samson; he reminded me very much of John Vickers in the role. But Peerce's French is a trifle wayward and his vocal line tends to have too much emphasis and not enough line [listen, track 1, 0:00-1:19]. This is particularly true in his opening, dramatic solo but when duetting with Stevens's Dalila he modulates this somewhat. Voi ma misere is well shaped but he does not really bring out the piece's essential tradgedy.

Stevens is a straightforward Dalila; her voice easily encompasses the role and she shapes the melody lines well [listen -- track 6, 0:00-00:48]. But I don't really think that she comes over as truly sexually tempting. I have always found her upper register lacking in depth of colour, but this could quite easily be the fault of the 50s recording processes.

Stokowski and the NBC Symphony Orchestra perform a crisp, technically well ordered version of the Bacchanale, there is little that is loose or louche here; but viewed as an orchestral show piece, it sparkles.

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Copyright © 25 April 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK


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