Ferdinand Lemaire

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Ferdinand Lemaire (1832-1879)[1] was a French librettist and poet, best known for writing the libretto of Camille Saint-Saëns's opera Samson et Dalila.

Lemaire was a creole, originally from Martinique, and had married a cousin of Saint-Saëns's wife. Saint-Saëns had previously set two of his poems, “Souvenance” and “Tristesse”, for voice and piano.[2] Approached by the composer to write an oratorio on the story of Samson and Delilah, Lemaire agreed, but only if the work was to be an opera.[3]