Anja Harteros in Tosca. Photo: Opéra national de Paris. 

After a daring season-opening production of Francesco Cavalli’s forgotten opera Eliogabalo—so forgotten that it was not even performed in the composer’s lifetime and only saw the light of day in 1999—Paris has settled into more familiar standard-repertoire runs. Yet even here the adventure continues, with the return of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila after a twenty-five year absence. Since its world premiere, in Weimar in 1877, the work has endured as a great operatic warhorse that combines the...