More info on Thais
About the opera Thais
Thaïs (pronounced tah-eess / ta:'i:s) is an opera in three acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Louis Gallet based on the novel Thaïs by Anatole France. It was first performed at the Opéra Garnier in Paris on 16 March 1894, starring the American soprano Sybil Sanderson, for whom Massenet had written the title role. The work was first performed in Italy at the Teatro Lirico Internazionale in Milan on 17 October 1903 with Lina Cavalieri in the title role and Francesco Maria Bonini as Athanaël. In 1907, the role served as Mary Garden's American debut in New York in the U.S. premiere performance.Read more on Wikipedia
Thaïs takes place in Egypt during Byzantine rule, where a Cenobite monk, Athanaël, attempts to convert Thaïs, an Alexandrian courtesan and devotee of Venus, to Christianity, but discovers too late that his obsession with her is rooted in lust; while the courtesan's true purity of heart is revealed, so is the religious man's baser nature. The work is often described as bearing a sort of religious eroticism, and has had many controversial productions. Its famous Méditation, the entr'acte for violin and orchestra played between the scenes of Act II, is an oft-performed concert music piece; it has been arranged for many different instruments.