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Subject: today's thaïs from the met
From: Mike Leone <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Mike Leone <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 11 Nov 2017 22:12:23 +0000
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Hello all--
I admit without embarrassment that Thaïs is one of my three favorite Massenet operas, Manon and Esclarmonde being the other two, and Don Quichotte being close behind them.  (On the other hand, I will never understand the popularity of Werther.) I have a hard time choosing my favorite from among these three, but after hearing today's broadcast from the Met, I am inclined to give the palm at least temporarily to Thaïs.  Ailyn Pérez inhabits the role of Thaïs like no singer I have ever heard, either live or on recordings, and suggests to me what Moffo might have done with the role if she had taken it on earlier in her career.  Indeed, it would not surprise me to learn that Pérez studied the Moffo recording because of similarities I heard in the interpretation and even the singing, although of course with a voice in much better shape.  Gerald Finley was likewise a treasure--as he consistently is--as Athanaël, and the rest of the cast was also very good indeed.  A recording of this broadcast would be my preferred recording of Thaïs.
The only gripe I have about the whole afternoon is that in the famous "laughing-then-crying" sequence at the end of Act II, Scene 1, just before the Meditation, Mme. Pérez went way too quickly from the laughing to the crying, and either stopped everything too quickly or at least was drowned out by the orchestra.  She does take the D at the end of the mirror aria, one of the few interpolated high notes in any opera that I miss when it is not there.
For those who have access to Sirius and missed this broadcast, it is probably not too late to go there and use the feature that allows one to back up the broadcast by several hours and hear the whole thing.  There will be another broadcast on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving for those who can't catch it this afternoon.  I will be seeing one of the performances of this run and can't wait.
Mike Leone
[log in to unmask] il Leone!

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