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Live Recording From The Teatro Regio Di Torino 2008
Thaïs BARBARA FRITTOLI
Athanaël LADO ATANELI
Nicias ALESSANDRO LIBERATORE
Palémon MAURIZIO LO PICCOLO
Albine NADEŽDA SERDYUK
ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS OF THE TEATRO REGIO DI TORINO
Conducted by GIANANDREA NOSEDA
Directed, Set Design and Costumes by STEFANO PODA
Thaïs, a mature work by the composer Jules Massenet on the libretto
by Louis Gallet, it is based on the novel of the same name by Anatole
France. The new production of this rarely performed work is the
result of more than a year of close collaboration between the forces
of the Theatre and Stefano Poda, responsible, for the fi rst time in
Italy, for the direction, choreography, sets, lighting and costumes.
On the podium, Gianandrea Noseda, who, seduced by the dramatic
force and modernity of the orchestral writing, conducts Thaïs for
the fi rst time; a debut also for the protagonist Barbara Frittoli, who has chosen the Regio to make her debut in this difficult role. Georgian baritone Lado Ataneli gives an impressive study of the monk Athanaël. Purified of the anticlerical excesses of Anatole France’s original novel, the libretto by Louis Gallet retains the sensual charge,
and above all, the irony which, though remaining underplayed, contributes to keeping alive a subject that has possible references to the contemporary world. The taste for the orient that characterised French culture during the nineteenth
century had become, by the end on the century, a truly dominant theme in literature, painting and theatre. In Thaïs, which had its debut in 1894, exoticism becomes the vehicle of a trend which is explicitly decadent, containing themes typical of
fi n-de-siècle art, i.e. the contrast between sacred and profane, transgression and the fi gure of the femme fatale. The story, which stands out against the background of Alessandria in Egypt in all its opulence and refi nement, culture
and indolence, presents us with the crossed destinies of Athanaël, a Cenobite monk whose missionary zeal borders on fanaticism, and Thaïs, a famous courtesan who, worried about the transience of her beauty, lets herself be convinced
to search immortality in the love of God.
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