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Milan, at Massenet's Scala Thais with Marina Rebeka and the direction of Lorenzo Viotti
The opera, staged only once at La Scala in 1942, is now presented in a new staging directed by Olivier Py

La Scala Theater Presents

Thaïs of Jules Massenet, inspired by the novel by Anatole France and staged at the Paris Opera in 1894, it was performed at La Scala only once, in Italian, in 1942, under the direction of Gino Marinuzzi, starring Mafalda Favero and Gino Bechi.

The new Scala production which will be staged for six performances from 10 February to 2 March, presenting the French original for the first time at La Scala, is therefore an important cultural event, underlined by the prestige of the performers.

On the podium Lorenzo Viotti, who at 32 is Music Director of the Amsterdam Opera and who made his debut in 2020 with Roméo et Juliette by Gounod. The staging sees for the first time in Milan one of the most eminent figures of European theater in recent years, Olivier Py, director, writer, actor and since 2013 Director of the Avignon Festival.

Opera built by Massenet on the charisma of a great soprano, Thaïs sees a return to the Scala stage Marina Rebeka, already the protagonist, among other things, of a dazzling one Traviata conducted by Zubin Mehta, together with the Grammy-winning American baritone Lucas Meachem like Athanaël and the now well-established Italian tenor Giovanni Sala like Nicias.

But the cast also illustrates the will of the Teatro alla Scala to give space to the best young singers: the spotlight is on Caterina Sala (Crobyle), formerly Barbarina and soon Najade alla Scala, Anna-Doris Capitelli (Myrtale) whose Rossini career has recently touched Bergamo (Barbiere) and will arrive in Pesaro (Ory), Federica Guida (La Charmeuse) that after being highlighted in it The Calisto will come back as Oscar in A masked ball, it's still Valentina Pluzhnikova (Albine), Insung Sim (Palémon) e Jorge Nelson Martinez (a servant).

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The work

Jules Massenet, who had accumulated a certain experience in the field of operatic exoticism as early as the Roi de Lahore of 1877, in the field of lost women with Manon (1884) and in the field of literary transpositions with Hérodiade da Flaubert (1881, with interesting advances on the opposition between lust and sanctity) and Werther (from Goethe, 1887), receives the libretto by Louis Gallet based on the novel by Anatole France in 1892 and composes the opera in a few months, drawing the protagonist on the vocal characteristics of the soprano Sybil Sanderson, star of the 'Opéra-Comique which led to the triumph Esclarmonde (1889). A new contract by Sanderson with the Opéra Garnier forces the composer to revise the score in the sense of the grand-opéra, which he is committed to until the autumn of 1893. On March 16, 1894, Thaïs is staged at the Opéra Garnier, between 'enthusiasm of France ("it is my sweetest glory. I am in a true ecstasy ... everything is of a great and enchanting beauty") and of Saint-Saëns, the satisfaction of the public and the arrows of part of the critics, which push the composer undergoing a profound revision from which the definitive version was born in 1898.

Often compared to Parnassian poetry for its limpid simplicity, Massenet's musical language is formed on a "libretto with a free and flexible form" which, as Gallet himself explains, corresponds to a form of "melic poetry" rather than a " prose poem ". The musical garment aims at a strong emotional impact and a decisive contrast of situations, from the calm of the desert to the violence of the visions, realized however with extreme economy of means and a refined ability to allude to closed forms without interrupting the flow of the sound story.

Starting from the secular novel by Anatole France, Gallet and Massenet create a profoundly spiritual work that deepens the opposition but also the complementarity of Eros and Agape.

*

(Marina Rebeka, photo © Dario Acosta - Lorenzo Viotti, photo © Brecia Amisano -Teatro alla Scala)
Milan, at Massenet's Scala Thais with Marina Rebeka and the direction of Lorenzo Viotti

Interpreters

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala

Director Lorenzo Viotti

Direction Olivier Py
Scenes and costumes Pierre André Weitz
Lights Bertrand Killy
Choreography Ivo Bauchiero

Cast

Thaïs Marina Rebeka
Athanaël Lucas Meachem
Nicias Giovanni Sala
Crobyle Caterina Sala
Myrtale Anna-Doris Capitelli
Albine Valentina Pluzhnikova
Charmeuse Federica Guida
Palémon Insung Sim
A servant Jorge Martínez

Program

Jules Massenet

Thaïs
Comédie lyrique in three acts
Libretto by Louis Gallet

New Teatro alla Scala Production

Replicas

February 16 at 8pm
February 19 at 8pm
February 22 at 8pm
February 25 at 8pm
02 March at 8 pm

Who organizes

Teatro alla ScalaThe New Regio Ducal… more

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