'Samson et Dalila' et Darko at the Met


Darko Tresnjak swears this is true:

The outgoing artistic director of Hartford Stage was in the shower at his Manchester home and he was listening to an aria sung by his favorite mezzo soprano, Elina Garanca.

“I was honestly thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to someday work with her?’ And the next day Peter Gelb [executive director of the Metropolitan Opera] called me to tell me about a project he wanted me to direct there. I asked who would be singing, and when he said Elina I lost all cool and nerded out completely.”

That the proposed production would co-star tenor Roberto Alagna — who starred opposite Garanca in an electrifying “Carmen” — sent the project, Camille Saint-Saens’ “Samson et Dalila,” to operatic heights for the director.

The production of the French opera opens the Met’s new season starting Sept. 24 and will mark Tresnjak’s debut there. It also can be seen as part of The Metropolitan HD Live on screens across the country including many in Connecticut; live on Oct. 20, and with repeats on Oct. 22 and 23.

On a bright summer’s day, Tresnjak arrived at the fountain at Lincoln Center in front of the Met, fresh from rehearsals for the premiere of an off-Broadway summer musical,“This Ain’t No Disco.” He looked surprisingly cool but pointed out he was in an in-between time of planning and rehearsing the epic Biblical opera.

“Here’s the thing, there’s not much to do right now,” he says, adding that in late summer he’ll be in grand opera mode. “It's so huge, so big. There are safety nets and yet there are no safety nets.”


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