Massenet's 'Thaïs' from Los Angeles Opera

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Massenet's 'Thais' stars Placido Domingo (right) Massenet's 'Thais' stars Placido Domingo (right) (Robert Millard/LA Opera)

On Saturday we will be presenting the Los Angeles Opera’s 2014 production of Jules Massenet’s Thaïs. Directed by Nicola Raab and conducted by Patrick Fournillier, this show is a favorite on both sides of the Atlantic.

The monk Athanaël (tenor Plácido Domingo) journeys to Alexandria in order to save the soul of the greatest courtesan in the city, Thaïs (soprano Nino Machaidze). Thaïs’ sensuality is adored by most, including Athanaël who begins to obsess over the woman. It is a three act tale of internal struggle, between duty and passion.

Thaïs - Nino Machaidze
Athanaël - Plácido Domingo
Nicias - Paul Groves
Palemon - Valentin Anikin
Albine - Milena Kitic
Crobyle - Hae Ji Chang
Myrtale (May 17) - Cassandra Zoé Velasco
Myrtale (May 25 - June 7) - Rebecca Nathanson
Servant - Kihun Yoon 

Conductor - Patrick Fournillier
Director - Nicola Raab
Designer - Johan Engels
Lighting Designer - Linus Fellbom

Comments [9]

Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@DD: Yes, I am trying to give Jeff a run for his money. I also do summaries from the Old Testament.
Best wishes

Sep. 13 2015 07:15 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Nothing good happens when virtue rears its ugly head.
Enjoyed todays performance. bravi tutti.

Sep. 12 2015 03:32 PM
Gene in L.A. from Los Angeles

Ellen, Domingo isn't singing a tenor part; Athanaël is a high baritone part.

Sep. 12 2015 02:54 PM
Leonard J. Lehrman from Valley Stream, NY

I had the great honor of conducting the backstage chorus in the THAIS
Meditation, and sharing a stool in Act IV with Beverly Sills when she sang
the title role in this opera at the Met in 1978. She sat on it until
her entrance, at which time I stood on it and conducted the women's
chorus. I also remember how on tour, in Memphis, a reporter asked her if she
would be performing the Act I Finale the way Carol Neblett had, in New
Orleans a few years earlier, "in the altogether" (as Ross Allen put it so elegantly). Her response was priceless: "At my age? You gotta be kiddin'!"
Leonard J. Lehrman
Metropolitan Opera Assistant Chorus Master, 1977-78

Sep. 12 2015 02:35 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lane Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama IInstitute, Boonton, NJ

The THAIS, NINO MACHAIDZE, is the only one who has met the demands of this glorious score.
Maestro PATRICK FOURRILLIER c0onducts with an assured knowledge and love of this music. Too bad that previous casts have not been given the air time that they deserve. I am to reprise my third All Wagner solo concert with collaborating pianist Rolf Barnes of 14 of the 50 selections I sang at two 3 hour long solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, for the New Life Expo at the N.Y.C. Pennsylvania Hotel on Saturday October 17th at 6 PM. All the selections on the program may be heard in unretouched live performance of mine singing them at Carnegie Hall by downloading them, free, at his Recorded Selections venue on my website I have sung four three hour long solo concerts at the main hall of Carnegie Hall. I am an opera composer, "Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespware" and am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ. My operas will be on my websites in JULY 2017.

Sep. 12 2015 02:28 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@Ellen: she also does a hootchy-kootchie dance. I might be wrong.
Despite my summary, I do like this opera. great music.

Sep. 12 2015 11:34 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

A beautiful opera in all respects but with a prolematical cast. I'm not a fan of Mr. Domingo as a baritone: Athanae"l is the baritone part; Nicias the tenor part; and what I consider Ms. Machaidze's wide vibrato is off-putting. I'll be listening instead to Rene'e Fleming and Thomas Hampson's Met performance instead. A golden opportunity was missed in not recording "Thai"s" complete with Dorothy Kirsten and Robert Merrill who did record the Death of Thai"s with Jean Morel conducting for RCA Victor in 1947. It rises or falls on the excellence of the Thai"s and Athanae"l, but there is deft and lush orchchestration throughout as per usual in Massenet with many subtle touches such as the phrygian mode for the flute's melody accompanying Thai"s's longing to bring the statue of Eros with her upon leaving with Athanae"l.

Sep. 12 2015 10:28 AM
Ellen from West Chester, PA

Concetta, that is a great summary of a crazy and improbable plot. Why is Domingo singing a tenor part? He should not be singing at all any more, imho, but I understood he has moved to the baritone range.

Sep. 12 2015 09:46 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Thais was an uncomplicated happy woman who ran the best little house in Alexandria. Then, the mad monk places a guilt trip on her. Both of them trek through the desert to a convent whereby Thais will repent her sins.
The nuns receive her with kindness. The monk leaves but after a few days he starts to have visions of her beauty and that she offered herself to him. this drives him crazy. He rushes back to the convent but Thais is dying. While some of the beautiful music from the Meditation plays, she dies. Off the monk goes into the desert.
The moral of the story is that a mid-life career change can be a dangerous thing.
Great music in this one folks.

Sep. 12 2015 07:21 AM

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