Comédie lyrique en 3 actes et 7 tableaux
Composer : Jules Massenet (1842–1912)
Libretto : Louis Gallet, after Anatole France’s novel (1890)
First performance : Opéra Garnier, Paris, 16 March 1894 ; revised 13 April 1898
SETTING : Alexandria and surroundings, 4th century AD
PLOT: The Coenobite monk Athanaël converts the courtesan Thaïs but falls in love with her. She dies as a saint, while he succumbs to lust and falls in despair at her feet.
No. 6 – Scène du miroir: ‘Dis-moi que je suis belle’
Alone in her house after a party, Thaïs is unhappy. She is tired of life; men are indifferent and brutal, women are wicked, and the hours are heavy. Where will she find rest and happiness? She looks in a mirror, and wants it to tell her that she will always be beautiful; but she knows that she will age, that she will lose her looks, and that one day she will no longer be Thaïs. She calls on Venus to make her forever young and beautiful.
Thaïs, comédienne et courtisane / actress and courtesan (soprano) : Renée Fleming
Conductor : Yves Abel
Orchestra National Bordeaux Aquitaine