On the other hand, Olga, how could we not recognize you! Sure, these six years have changed you, like all of us. Plus, last time we saw you, it was a comedy and the mood was lighter. But the attitude remains regal, confident, and strong. The deep mezzo voice came off assured in every ranges: rich, velvety, luscious. It was sensual enough to hint at the eroticism of the lyrics, which in Act I have all the subtly of a stoned street walker’s advances.

Above, Olga Borodina and Clifton Forbis as Delilah and Samson. Below, the Act III Bacchanalia. Pictures by SF Opera/Terrence McCarthy.