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Massenet: Thais- The Metropolitan Opera (2010)

Renee Fleming , Thomas Hampson , John Cox  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Massenet: Thais- The Metropolitan Opera + Tchaikovsky - Eugene Onegin / Fleming, Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Gergiev, Carsen [Metropolitan Opera 2007] + Verdi - Otello / Domingo, Fleming, Morris, Croft, Levine, Moshinsky, Metropolitan Opera
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Product Details

  • Actors: Renee Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Michael Schade, Alain Vernhes, Jesus Lopez-Cobos
  • Directors: John Cox
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (DTS 5.1), French (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 146 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002Y5FKZ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,846 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Massenet: Thais- The Metropolitan Opera" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Renée Fleming triumphs as the glamorous courtesan Thaïs in Massenet's romantic tragedy set in fourth century Alexandria and the Egyptian desert. The timeless struggle between earthly desire and spiritual redemption finally destroys the resolve of the monk Athanaël (Thomas Hampson), just as the newly penitent Thaïs ascends heavenward. BONUS FEATURE: Interviews by Plácido Domingo

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Currently the Clear Winner January 30, 2010
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There are only two other DVD's of Thais in the current catalogue. There may be others in the future, but it is highly unlikely that they (it) will unseat the position that this Met production enjoys. That is not to say that it is perfect. Indeed almost any production of a French opera is in a quandry because of the lack of French singers and the ability to project the text as only a French trained singer can do. The recent Carmen managed to meet this problem head on and do a very good job of. Of course Carmen is a masterpiece and Thais while highly enjoyable and ranking almost with Manon and Werther is a more fragile work.

Aside from the fact that neither lead is French my main bone of contention with the DVD is the very generic production. Fourth century Hellenic Egypt! Not even close. Why in heaven's name was Nicias wearing a white bow tie and white vest and what looked like a thirties lounging robe. This is nit picking, but even so it is glaring because he never changes his costume. Fleming is a diva and I suppose is entitled to all the perks that attend to the position. Her costumes are no more evocative of the setting than those of Nicias, especially her Act I costume. Only those of Hampson's are apt. Fleming's were designed for her and probably cost a lot of money; they are somewhat glitzy and I can't imagine any other opera that would find them acceptable.

What is more important are the singers up to the job, something that previous productions were only able to do with marginal success. Leaving aside French style, both Fleming and Hampson deliver the goods. Renee still has a top that allows her to negotiate the difficult passages without strain. She sings the two high D's in the finale with ease.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Others February 8, 2010
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<Spoiler Alert> There is no ballet in this production. You would think that if a company was going to commit a production to DVD, that they would do a full length production. Unfortunately the ballets are often cut. In this case, only the La Chameuse portion is presented. I've never found that particular piece very interesting. The production itself is pleasant. However, I think they could have spared the viewers the behind the scenes set changes. Seeing the sets dismantled and reassembled only serves to destroy the momentum of the story itself. The time period itself is obscure. Its definately not Egypt in the 4th century, but more likely in the late 1800's, during the Ottoman rule. That said, it was a pleasant prodution and far superior to either of the other two currently available.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD is not HD quality January 27, 2010
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The only thing I want to review is the quality of the DVD production
which is unfortunately horrible. They packed the entire opera,
all the set changes and interviews that were part of the HD broadcast
and all the bonus features onto one disc. This dramatically reduces
the quality of the video to barely better than VHS quality.
I was really looking forward to this professional release to replace
the copy I recorded at low quality from broadcast non-digital PBS a year ago
but alas this one is not better.

P.S. If you disagree with my review and you feel strongly that I'm just
wrong, please leave a comment. If I agree with your assessment I will remove
this review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this opera! March 20, 2011
LOVE this opera. Renée Fleming and Thomas Hampson are amazing. The music is so lovely. The final duet is sooo heartbreaking. The sets are nice & simple. I recommend this to everyone who wants to discover a totally underated opera.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music 5; production 3 January 27, 2010
Several months ago, just after the Saturday matinee radio broadcast of this performance of "Thais," I wrote a review of the Venice Opera DVD with Eva Mei in the title role. I concluded that review with a suggestion that we should wait to purchase until this production became available. I concluded that review, "Based on the broadcast, it is sure to be a winner."
I was only partially correct. Musically, this production is superb, just as the broadcast was. But, this is another of the Metropolitan's new productions which do not honor the time frame of the opera. "Thais" takes place in fourth century Egypt. The opulence of Nicias' home in Scene Two, with its long winding staircase, suggests a much later time, as does the rifle-wielding servant who greets Athaniel when he enters. Nicias, dressed in a white tuxedo shirt, tie, and vest, helps to complete the incorrect picture. The convent nuns in the final scene are dressed in habits that suggest much later than the fourth century. In total, there is a mish-mash of time periods represented in this production. I have not read anywhere what era John Cox and Paul Brown were attempting to portray; but whatever it was, it was not.
On the plus side, Renee Fleming's Thais is much more sensuous than Eva Mei's, notwithstanding the latter's nudity. And, watch Fleming's face in the final scene; nowhere else will you see such peace with oneself and with God.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely outstanding! February 12, 2011
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Except for the famous "Meditation" and Mirror Scene, I was not familiar with this opera, but being a major fan of Renee Fleming, I thought I would check it out. If you do the same, you will not be disappointed! Fans of Thomas Hampson will also be pleased with his performance. This opera could just have easily been entitled "Athanael & Thais", as his role is at least equal to hers. The Met orchestra is in top form and the Meditation was played particularly well by David Chan.

I do not generally care for productions set outside the composer's intended period of history, but I did not find this distracting at all.

In short, this DVD should be added to every opera lover's collection!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
just as expected .
Published 15 days ago by akiko sashide
4.0 out of 5 stars A very nice production
The aspect that I enjoyed the most was the cast, mainly the two main characters: Thaïs and Athanael played by Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson respectively. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Delaspozas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A beautiful performance. Renee Fleming is wonderful and sexy
Published 1 month ago by Marc M. Mahan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good version of limited opera
Good presentation of Thais; Fleming particularly. The opera is limited in drama.
Published 1 month ago by Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate production
Yes, there are ten years, between the original Decca CD set (1997) and the production of this DVD (2007) but nothing of significance has been lost, in the voices of either of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by G. Hungerford
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
This production is awesome! The orchestra is superb (the violin solo is exquisite), the cast is amazing (who's going to trump Hamson and Fleming? Read more
Published 6 months ago by Derek E. Larson
5.0 out of 5 stars Thais I loved it.
The DVD was of excellent quality both video and audio.
Sometimes when watching an opera I will stop the DVD and take a break, this time it was so good I kept on going to the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by JoeBulldog
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Perfomance
The dramatic presentation was excellent, subtitles were reasonably complete, and the music was well sung. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Francis S. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This opera is seldom performed, but the music is beautiful. This production is outstanding Flemming and Thompson have chemistry plus. Read more
Published 10 months ago by M. C. Yuhn
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling!
I've seen this opera live & the video met my expectations with its brilliant cast. The Met does a beautiful job of backstage interviews. Thank you!
Published 13 months ago by Cynthia D. Courtney
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