Sat., Jan. 20 at 1pm on WKAR Radio 90.5 FM | Ailyn Pérez is the alluring courtesan and Gerald Finley is the holy man who tries to resist her powers of seduction in Massenet’s tale of sensuality versus spirituality. Emmanuel Villaume conducts.
Jules Massenet’s opera about the power of feminine allure and the desperation of male obsession has served as a showcase for a variety of great artists in the lead roles. Thaïs is an Egyptian courtesan and priestess of Venus whom the Christian monk Athanaël seeks to reform. While she ultimately achieves salvation, he falls prey to his growing lust for the woman.
Massenet wisely concentrated on the inner lives of the two lead roles. The result is an opera as seductive as its heroine, a fascinating story of two people locked in an opposing yet parallel metamorphosis.
Jules Massenet (1842–1912) a French composer wildly popular in his day, was noted for his operas, songs, and oratorios. His somewhat sentimental style lost popularity in the early 20th century, with only his romantic treasure Manon (1884) maintaining a steady place in the repertory.
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