1. #1
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    Default Biblical hero turned into terrorist

    Biblical hero turned into terrorist. Choir stages updated version of Samson morality tale

    Sarah Petrescu, Times Colonist Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    In the Bible, Samson is a hero who used his superhuman strength to do God’s will by pulling down pillars in a Philistine temple, killing thousands and himself in an act of vengeance.

    But in what’s sure to be a controversial interpretation of the story, a Victoria choir will present Samson as a suicide bomber.

    Simon Capet, music director of the Victoria Philharmonic Choir, says he wanted to update Handel’s Samson oratorio to be relevant to today’s audiences by drawing comparisons to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

    John McKay/Times Colonist

    “We didn’t want to just present the work as a simple morality tale,” says Capet, 40. “There is a social and political commentary here that’s important.”

    While the music will not change, the setting of the oratorio will be 1946 Jerusalem, to draw comparisons to the bombing of the British headquarters at the King David Hotel by the militant Zionist group Irgun. Menachem Begin, who ordered the attack, would later become Israel’s prime minister and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Capet says presenting Samson as a terrorist is not meant to offend, or cast blame, but to challenge our notions of what a terrorist is.

    “Is there any difference between pulling down a pillar or blowing a bomb?” he asks. “Samson killed thousands of people. To show him in the traditional mythological sense does a disservice.”

    While the comparison is unusual in the classical music world, it’s a hot topic in politics. “There’s a large focus on this right now, with Israel being presented as the Samson figure,” says Andrew Rippin, dean of humanities at the University of Victoria and a specialist in Islamic studies. Indeed, American journalist Seymour Hersh coined the term “the Samson option” in his book about Israel’s development of a nuclear arsenal.

    Shadia Drury, a philosophy professor and author of Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics and the Western Psyche, recently compared Samson to World Trade Center bomber Mohammed Atta in a talk at UVic. Drury says she thinks the choir’s modern interpretation of Samson is heroic.

    But local Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein says the comparison “promotes a shallow understanding of history” and is offensive. “Israelis never supported Irgun or that kind of terrorism. They weren’t heroes ... and Begin went into politics legitimately decades later. He wasn’t some crazy terrorist.”

    One man who is already uneasy about the performance is Samson himself, tenor Ken Lavigne. “I’m really struggling with this,” says Lavigne. “I can’t help but feel that a number of people will not enjoy this rejigging of a biblical hero.”

    Lavigne says he has warmed up to the idea that it will get people talking about music and its relevance. “I’ve had to accept that whoever I thought Samson was, what he committed was an act of mass murder.”

    The Victoria Philharmonic Choir’s presentation of Handel’s Samson runs April 5, 7 and 8 at the McPherson Playhouse. Tickets range from $14.75 to $29.50. For more information, visit vpchoir.squarespace.com or call 386-6121.


    © Times Colonist
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    “We didn’t want to just present the work as a simple morality tale,” says Capet, 40. “There is a social and political commentary here that’s important.”
    This is the biggest bunch of crap that I have ever read. The "moral relativists" are the only ones who do not "simple morality". In their little world, a person can never do wrong if they don't believe the act is wrong. The exception, of course, is anyone who tries to point out just how stupid that view point is.

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    Default What the .....?

    Handel is probably rolling over in his grave about now.

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    I love people who go and try to apply current events and politics to a book, musical work, etc that was written long before the "current events" took place.

    Hell, let's rewrite Les Miserables so instead of it being the oppressed poor against the fat-cat burgouisie, it's the oppressed Iraqis against the evil capitalist oil-stealing American pig-dogs. What a crock...
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

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