Massenet: Thais


Massenet: Thais by DECCA,OPERA,ROMANTICO, at Your Free Album. MPN: 028946676622. Hurry! Limited time offer. Offer valid only while supplies last. Given the renaissance in recent years of an interest in Jules Massenet--consider, for example, the 1999 release of two Werthers back to back--the time definitely has become ripe for a new account of his late opera, Thaïs. This is the first alternative to appear on CD since the problematic version with Beverly Sills from the 1970s. While far from flawless (curiously, it was recorded in two stretches, with a pause of 15 months between them), it makes a mostly convincing case for the stirring beau


Massenet: Thais by DECCA,OPERA,ROMANTICO,
4.7 out of 5 stars with 43 reviews
Condition: New
Availability: In Stock
$24.08


Quantity:  

 


Product Description & Reviews

Given the renaissance in recent years of an interest in Jules Massenet--consider, for example, the 1999 release of two Werthers back to back--the time definitely has become ripe for a new account of his late opera, Thaïs. This is the first alternative to appear on CD since the problematic version with Beverly Sills from the 1970s. While far from flawless (curiously, it was recorded in two stretches, with a pause of 15 months between them), it makes a mostly convincing case for the stirring beauty of Massenet's much-misunderstood work. For Thaïs, with its exotic setting in Egypt of the early Christian period, achieves much more than the sentimental romanticism often conveyed in out-of-context performances of its best-known excerpt, the violin instrumental Meditation. A kind of Tannhäuser in reverse, this story of sin and an illusory quest for salvation (adapted from Anatole France's novel) has its two main figures--the monk Athanaël and the beautiful courtesan Thaïs --crisscross in their interior journeys, only to end by arriving at diametrically opposed destinies (in a chiasmus that is the exact opposite of the one depicted in Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke). Many will seek out this account chiefly for the presence of Renée Fleming in the title role, and she indeed crafts a memorable portrayal of Thaïs's path from worldly irony to trusting soul. Fleming deploys her familiar, unique vocal style with subtlety for the earlier scenes of Thaïs as courtesan, delivering her great aria of doubt with a Marschallin-like vulnerability. Indeed, it's the breathy sumptuousness typical of her voice that makes the converted Thaïs almost more of a challenge--although Fleming does achieve a noticeable softening effect, above all in her death scene. As the monk who tries to repress his very worldly feelings for Thaïs, Thomas Hampson clearly carries the seeds of doubt from his first scene; if anything, the contrast between his two selves isn't stark enough, and he brings too much vocal polish to the scenes where we should hear a John the Baptist in hair shirt. Still, Hampson's sensitivity, however reserved, elicits the crucial sense of compassion for Athanaël's predicament. As Nicias, the cultured lover of Thaïs, Giuseppe Sabbatini is excellent--their bittersweet farewell duet actually contains some of the best chemistry on the whole set. True, Massenet's score succumbs to passages of filler (for example, much of the ballet music) that aren't at the level of its more inspired lyrical stretches, but young conductor Yves Abel (making his Decca debut) captures its integral, supple beauty despite some roughness in transitions and an occasionally raw surface from the orchestra. Sound balances are less than ideal. An excellent booklet with full libretto is included. --Thomas May

Features & Highlights

  • FLEMING / HAMPSON / SABBATINI
  • MUSICA CLASICA
  • INTERNATIONAL
  • MUSIC

Additional Information

Brand:
DECCA,OPERA,ROMANTICO,
Manufacturer:
Decca
Category:
Operettas
Model:
1991943
MPN:
028946676622
Release Date:
2000-08-22
UPC:
028946676622
Publisher:
Decca
Audience Rating:
NR (Not Rated)
Creator:
Array
Publication Date:
2000-08-22
Binding:
Audio CD
Item Weight:
0.63 pounds
Item Size:
5.35 x 1.34 x 5.71 inches
Package Weight:
0.62 pounds
Package Size:
4.8 x 1.34 x 5.75 inches

 


Have questions about this item (028946676622), or would like to inquire about a custom or bulk order?


If you have any questions about this product by DECCA,OPERA,ROMANTICO,, contact us by completing and submitting the form below. If you are looking for a specif part number, please include it with your message.

First Name:
Last Name:
Email Address:
Your Message:

Related Best Sellers


mpn: 724355656926, ean: 0791305021615,
CD For all its exotically tinged, trademark Orientalism, so fashionable in late-19th-century France, Delibe's opera Lakmé is at heart a simple story of tragically misplaced love. This marvelous and sensitively wrought interpretation renders the inte...

mpn: 028942385528, ean: 0028942385528,
Insert is included. Both CD's play well. Is it possible to have a great Turandot recording without a great Turandot? This recording almost convinces you that's the case. Whatever one makes of this fairy tale about a Chinese princess who beheads faile...

ean: 0724356195523,
a great performance Purcell worked immensely hard on his score for The Fairy Queen, but the original was lost. The version on which this performance is based arrived at London's Royal Academy of Music by devious routes a century and a half later. But...

ean: 0724355622020,
An uncut Porgy & Bess may well be too long in the theater. On CD, though, you can play one act at a time, letting Gershwin's wide-eyed, inexhaustibly inventive score run its course at leisure in the comforts of your rumpus room. Some listeners might ...