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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Massenet "Meditation" from Thais, Yo-Yo Ma

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.

Thaïs takes place in Egypt during Byzantine rule, where a Cenobite monk, Athanaël, attempts to convert Thaïs, an Alexandrian courtesan and devotée 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.

Thaïs: Meditation by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma (Cello), Kathryn Stott (Piano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1894; France
Date of Recording: 2003
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worchester, MA
Length: 5 Minutes 48 Secs.
Notes: Arranged: Yo-Yo Ma 

Massenet "Meditation" from Thais/Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott
Audio and Nude Paintings by Masters

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