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]


  1. ^ Article on the opera by Heinz Wallisch
  2. ^ "The Libretto and Source of Saint-Saëns Samson and Delilah"
  3. ^ Sadie, Stanley (ed) (1992). The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, vol 3, p. 1141. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-522186-2.