Post Cards from the Edge Massenet’s Thaïs - Saturday, May 3, 2014, 7 pm Florida Grand Opera, Miami | Welcome to Fred’s Home Page

Massenet’s Thaïs - Saturday, May 3, 2014, 7 pm Florida Grand Opera, Miami

The last time Florida Grand Opera performed Thaïs was in 1976.  With an opera so seldom performed anywhere, I had my reservations about the performance.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  The set design by André Barbe was minimalist but well carried off.  Everything was visually pleasing and the lighting was exceptional. 

The story is about the monk, Athanaël of some obscure order (this French opera was set in Egypt) desiring to convert the epitome of sin, the courtesan Thaïs.  Conveniently for us, Thaïs is at that point in her life she can be converted.  As a back story, Athanaël before he became a monk, desired Thaïs and is constantly fighting the temptation to have his way with her all during her conversion.

He succeeds in converting her, although coming off rather the cad, and taking her to a convent far in the desert.  Once there, he returns to his order and is so tormented by her memory, he goes to the convent to declare his love only to find she is dying.  As she dies, he mourns her loss and the curtain comes down. 

Kristopher Irmiter as Athanaël was good but the night belonged to Eglise Gutiérrez with her magnificent voice.  The Herald, in an interview, indicated she thought this was the most difficult singing role of her career.  It certainly was challenging but with the exception of almost missing a few high notes (there were plenty) and sometimes not being able to top the orchestra, it was a masterful performance - one of the best I’ve seen at Florida Grand Opera. 

The image is from the Florida Grand Opera web site.

© Fred Searcy 2017