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Subject: Re: Met's Saturday Broadcast: "Thais"
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:00:20 -0700
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I heard part of it and was impressed.  Perez was very good, better than I
expected.   For whatever reason, I'm not really a fan - yet.  Finlay for me
was the star.  What gorgeous tone.  Yes, just like in Guillaume Tell last
season.  Borras is one of the better newish French tenors.  Friday I heard
Benjamin Bernheim's debut recital from Le Grand Theatre de Bordeaux and
that was superb.  I will post on that soon.

Donald

On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 12:24 PM, G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> I’m a bit surprised the Met’s Saturday Matinee broadcast performance of
> Thais this past Saturday of the November 11th Sirius broadcast generated
> not a single post.  In fact, the entire run of Thais this season went
> nearly un
> unnoticed on the list, producing only 3 or 4 posts.
>
> Although I listened to this performance when it was aired live, I still
> couldn’t resist spending my Saturday with Massenet’s glorious score in wh
> what was a pretty terrific performance.
>
> Ailyn Perez had a great success in her role debut with a sensual feel and a
> mostly easy top.  I’m sure she’s still finding her way regarding pacing,
> but
> at the prima while she landed on the big D’s in the final duet, they were
> not as easy and quickly let go of as opposed to using a more elastic
> approach . . .  lingering just a tad longer to bend the line into a
> frisson of
> excitement.  A minor quibble, particularly of someone who seems to have
> every other aspect of the role rather nicely in place.
>
> Gerald Finley offered absolutely gorgeous tone, maybe the most sensual so
> sounding Athanael in my experience.  From the opening scene with the Ce
> Cenobites he made believable both the pious religious leader and a man po
> possessed and obsessed by the unattainable.  Each of the duets with his fe
> femme fatale were terrific.
>
> Luxury casting came in the form of French tenor, Jean-Francois Borras
> (whose pinch hitting for Kaufmann in “Werther” several seasons ago was an
> an unexpected season highlight) taking on Nicias thus elevating a fairly mi
> minor (if crucial) role, fleshing him out a substantial character he
> should be
> be.  Even the little duet between Thais and Nicias came across as less
> arch or
> or fake than it sometimes does, with a touch of sentimentality that seemed
> ge
> genuine.
>
> Maestro Villaume knew exactly which direction to take Massenet’s
> Alexandrian adventure,  and it was about as romantic and strong a case for
> Thais as can be presented today.  Wisely, he built the work up from the
> hushed religious opening to the sparkling portrait of Alexandria that, for
> me, contains some of Massenets most memorably infectious music.  While
> I’ve known this opera since my early teens, perhaps it is
> because “Meditation” is one of my earliest musical memories (from Church,
> of all places) the entrance of the wordless chorus remains, for me, one of
> operas most unexpected “surprises” – every single time.
>
> On FB I announced I was ready to be called a heathen for it, but that I
> will
> take Thais over Manon any day of the week.  I was pleasantly surprised to
> learn I wasn’t as alone as I thought!
>
> I hope others got to enjoy this broadcast, as much as I did.
>
> p.
>
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