Samson is a three-act oratorio by George Frideric Handel, considered one of his finest dramatic works. It is usually performed as an oratorio in concert form, but on occasions has also been staged as an opera. The well-known arias "Let the bright Seraphim" (for soprano) and "Total eclipse" (for tenor) are often performed separately in concert.
Handel began its composition immediately after completing Messiah on September 14, 1741. It uses a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton, who based it on Milton's Samson Agonistes, which in turn was based on the figure Samson in Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges. The premiere was given at Covent Garden in London on February 18 1743. The oratorio was a great success, leading to a total of seven performances in its first season, the most in a single season of any of his oratorios. Samson retained its popularity throughout Handel's lifetime but is not performed much these days. This 1997 recoding stars Thomas Randle and Lynda Russell. Harry Christophers conducts.