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Massenet: Thais / Noseda, Frittoli, Ataneli, Liberatore [DVD]

Album Summary

>Massenet, Jules : Thais
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'Thais', a mature work by the composer Jules Massenet on the libretto by Louis Gallet, is based on the novel of the same name by Anatole France. This new production of the rarely performed work is the result of more than a year of close collaboration between the forces of the Theatre and Stefano Poda, responsible, for the first time in Italy, for the direction, choreography, sets, lighting and costumes.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 139 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: French, English, German, Italian, Spanish


Arthaus Musik Thais opera by Massenet DVD
This Arthaus Musik DVD production is of a 2008 live performance in Torino. During the performance, the audience keeps remarkably silent, with minimal coughing. Massenet called this opera a lyrical comedy, which is a misnomer – there's nothing even faintly amusing about it. To me, the opera's key point is irony; the monk Athanael persuades the courtesan Thais to abandon her 'sinful' life and seek redemption; meanwhile, he succumbs to earthly desires by falling in love with her. The aural component - beautiful music - is at odds with this visual presentation, which includes many semi- or nearly-naked people leaping, gyrating, or writhing around the stage to represent - what? If you like futuristic sets with generous helpings of surrealism and/or symbolism, this production will probably please you. Symbolism is acceptable if one understands the point; if not, one is left perplexed, even irritated. Thus, in Act 1 scene 1; the camera zooms out to show the monks on an upper level and a completely different setting below, which represents - what? All of this was wasted on me; I would have preferred sets in keeping with the opera’s time period - fourth century AD - without the symbolism. The cast overall is a strong one; Lado Ataneli (Athanael) and Barbara Frittoli (Thais) deliver powerful performances, though I found Frittoli's prominent vibrato, especially on some high notes, very distracting. In Act 3, she is dressed in white - depicting, perhaps, her deliverance from sin - which is at odds with her low-necked, very revealing dress. The supporting cast all deliver sound performances.
Submitted on 09/15/09 by Ted Wilks 
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Works Details

>Massenet, Jules : Thaïs
  • Performers: Nadezda Serdyuk (Mezzo Soprano); Daniela Schillaci; Diego Matamoros; Maurizio Lo Piccolo (Bass); Alessandro Liberatore (Tenor); Ketevan Kemoklidze (Mezzo Soprano); Barbara Frittoli (Soprano); Eleonora Buratto (Soprano); Lado Antaneli (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
  • Ensemble: Orchestra e coro del Teatro Regio
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1894
  • Studio/Live: Live