Massenet – Thais

26 Mar

Massenet - Thais  DS365f sm

Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Nicolai Gedda, Lorin Maazel and The New Philharmonia Orchestra with The John Aldis Choir

Release: DS365f

Source: SQ CD

Process: SQ/II

Format: 2 x DVD-A/V  MLP/DTS/DD

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8 Responses to “Massenet – Thais”

  1. crispin14 March 31, 2014 at 23:01 #

    This is a very good decode. The imaging nails the voices, capturing close and distant singers, crowd scenes and the orchestra beautifully.

    The opera has wonderful tunes. The famous Meditation comes at the end of the first disk. Although the wikipedia plot summary says that Thais sends Athanaël away before she has her meditation. one director sets the piece to an erotic ballet with the suggestion that it could be a a Athanaël’s dream. That is he (who has not left in the lower right of the stage) sleeping while the ballet seems to be in his head.

    After the meditation Athanaël, who formerly was a celibate monk trying to convert the courtesan Thais to Christianity, suddenly falls in lust with her just as she agrees to give up her place in the oldest profession.

    You can see a bit of this scene, which includes partial nudity, here:

    • Owen Smith April 13, 2014 at 14:40 #

      Great youtube clip crispin14, puts the Meditation music into context. And apart from her other obvious assets, the stand out thing here is that the partial nudity allows you to see the incredible musclature of the female dancer. All that work in the rehearsal studio clearly pays off.

  2. Owen Smith March 30, 2014 at 12:51 #

    I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with opera and so it is here. The best parts by far are the orchestral interludes where no-one is singing, the orchestra plays these very well with great feeling and dynamics.

    My problem with opera is that I don’t like warblers or shouters. Warblers sing with excessive vibrato, and shouters are always shouting and trying to out compete all the other singers. There are plenty of examples of both here alas. There is some nice singing, the female duet on disc 2 track 7 is very nicely done. And I rather liked the bass who featured quite early on disc one but who’s voice doesn’t seem to have featured much since. But the tenor really needs to get a grip, he doesn’t have to over power everyone to prove he’s the male lead. The soprano is a fine example of a warbler when she gets going, reminds me of the worst aspects of Maria Callas.

    Jussi Bjorling is my favourite tenor and he never shouted people down like this, listen to he and Robert Merrel sing the Pearl Fishers’s duet and that’s an example of sensitive and cooperative singing together. Listen to any modern recording (particularly the awful Bryn Terfel one) and you’ll hear a battle for supremacy between the tenor and baritone.

    Best bit of all: the final track on disc 1, the lovely violin solo which is very often played in isolation. It’s quite popular on Classic FM. This one is all the better due to the contrast with the singers before it.

  3. Owen Smith March 27, 2014 at 20:37 #

    The first peer to reach 100% on this immediately disappeared rather than becoming a seed. Very public spritied of you I don’t think, whoever you are.

    • oxforddickie March 28, 2014 at 10:04 #

      I’m sorry to hear that, not everyone appreciates the need to help with the seeding, especially at the beginning of large titles like this. Doesn’t boad well for other large projects i have planned.

    • Owen Smith March 28, 2014 at 15:11 #

      Including myself I now see 4 seeds for this. There were about 8 people downloading it originally, so that’s about a 50% rate of people hanging on to seed. It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse than that.

      I’m committed to long term seeding as you have probably noticed. The trouble is my ADSL upload speed is only 900kbps and it only goes so far. But I should be getting FTTC during 2014, on an ISP with no usage caps or throttling.

      Please don’t let this put you off other large projects. They’ll download in the end, and with luck people will realise how much it helps to seed for a while especially if they’re an early finisher.

  4. Owen Smith March 26, 2014 at 13:54 #

    I think this is meant to be DS365f, that’s the next number and we’ve already had a DS356f.

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