Magazine article Opera Canada

Thais Massenet

Magazine article Opera Canada

Thais Massenet

Article excerpt

THAIS

MASSENET

Decca: 0743355

Although popular up to World War II, Massenet's exotic Thais virtually disappeared from the operatic stage afterwards. After a 1939 staging at the Metropolitan Opera, it was almost four decades before a new production was mounted specifically for the late Beverly Sills in 1978. And then it was another three decades before the Met staged its current production for Renee Fleming (broadcast Dec. 8, 2008).

It is hard to imagine a more physically glamorous or vocally alluring Thais than Fleming. Even she says, "Thai's is one of perhaps four roles in my entire repertoire that could have been written specifically for me." What a pity that she is here saddled with John Cox's tacky 2002 production, originally designed by Paul Brown for Lyric Opera of Chicago. It is perhaps not insignificant that Brown's name does not appear on this DVD, nor that the Fleming jettisoned Browns original costume designs in favor of newly commissioned outfits by French fashion designer Christian Lacroix.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

She was in exceptional voice for this transmission, making fine work of the famous "Dis-moi que je suis belle," which she caps with a glorious interpolated high D natural. …

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