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Massenet: Thais - The Metropolitan Opera [DVD] [NTSC] [Region 0] [2010]

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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  • Massenet: Thais - The Metropolitan Opera [DVD] [NTSC] [Region 0] [2010]
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Product details

  • Actors: Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Michael Schade, Daniel Clark Smith, Roger Andrews
  • Directors: Gary Halvorson
  • Writers: Louis Gallet, Jules Massenet
  • Producers: Peter Gelb
  • Format: Widescreen, Anamorphic, Colour, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Universal Music Operations
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Feb. 2010
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002Y5FKZ4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,871 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Soprano Renee Fleming and baritone Thomas Hampson lead the cast in this production of Massenet's opera, conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and performed by New York's Metropolitan Opera in March, 2009.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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A fine performance but a strange finale with a dying Thais sitting bolt upright!
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I found this to be a stunning performance by Renee Fleming !! By the time the final scene was being played I could not have cared less where, what , why or how, just so long as I was left undisturbed to witness the final aria --- For me it defied description --- an emotional shock ! Thomas Hampson is always a man to leave home for but on this occasion it was Renee Fleming who delivered 100 %.Incredible.
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In spite of having Renee Flemming this production does not have the atmosphere / drama / beauty v religion contrast as the Venezia version on Dynamic. How is it that Renee Fleming looks 100% fit until her last 10 seconds? Most unconvincing - she is supposed to be dying and ill before Athanael arrives but she sits upright in a chair singing her heart out!. If you have bought this it is still worth getting the Mei version on Dynamic which interprets Massenet in a manner befitting his music. The Bluray version on Arthaus is the worst interpretation. The Eva Mei version remmains the very top and looks like being in this position for a very long time.- In short this is spoilt by the production. The Venezia version seems to rise in my estimation as more attempts at Thais come out!
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What a pity the wonderful performance of Renee Fleming, both singing and acting, was handicapped by such poor video direction and general direction. Showing set changes and dropping the curtain during the meditation destroyed the magic of the theatre performance. I don't want to see either the conductor or the violinist just because the director can't think what to do on stage.A further criticism of the director was the staging of the first scene in Act 3. Here Thais is at deaths door in the desert whilst Albine's convent is a stones throw away in full view of the audience, Thais and Athaniel! Neither Thomas Hampson or Michael Schade were in best voice but it is worth viewing just for Renee's performance alone.
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I have been collecting Operas on Video and now on DVD since 1980. I have been eagerly waiting for this production of THAIS to appear on DVD imagining that it must be fantastic! It is more than fantastic it is beyond my ability to express my appreciation! Thais is supposed to be the most beautiful women in Egypt. Something which is very difficult to portray especially as the role is a difficoult one that could not be taken on by any young inexperienced singer. Renee' Fleming is stunning!!! Looking every bit like the most beautiful women in the world. HOW does she do it!!? She was not nearly as beautiful when she was 20 years younger! Her acting too is impeccable, so believable. Moreover Tomas Hampson's is also perfect: in looks, singing and acting. So is everybody else. The set, the costumes the choreography everything is just perfect: of my 4 or 500 videos/DVD this is the most perfect in my collection. An absolute MUST for those who in an opera look for something they can believe in. Such a rare thing in many modern productions where ...so called "thought provoking" weirdness spoils even the greatest masterpiece. I know I am not the only one to think so! so why do opera companies carry on spending huge amount of money on productions which nobody likes and that are not as the composer intended.
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Well, the sets are good, even if they are 1920s mixed with medieval. Hanson is good as Athanael as one would expect, Nicias has a pleasant tenor, but Fleming seems to be a film starlet, OK she sings fine, but it is hardly seductive. The atmosphere is like a polite cocktail party. In the intervals the camera moves around backstage, watching the stars and the sceneshifters. In act 2 Fleming sings of the gaps in her life in a designer negligee, then we pop backstage, and then down the orchestra pit for the Meditation, what a missed opportunity. I presume Thais performs her conversion with a quick cuppa in her dressing room!. There is some improvement in act 3, the journey to the monastary, but it is short lived as between scene 2 and 3 while Massanets terrific music reflects Athaniels mental turmoil we are treated to sets being wheeled round the stage. The death of Thais is no improvement, as she sits on a chair not even in a nuns habit, and looks remarkably well until her last moment. This production is best watched with your eyes closed, or you could get Eva Mei instead.
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This version of Thais does have some flaws Flemming's death scene among them I understand why she might not appear unwell to our deranged lathario but they place her in this odd sitting, lying in bed yet kind of standing position almost grinning. Its just a little off putting for all of 2 minutes in what is otherwise a superb rendition.

the staging though is one of the most awe inspiring things I have ever scene absolutley stunning I wish I had scene it live the sheer scale on offer is increadible.

It is also an increadibly moving and sometimes intimate portrayel and Flemming barring aforementioned death scene is in my eyes perfect as a woman who is supposed to distort men and be the most bueatiful women you can lay yoru eyes on. The ending is heart wrenching and the pains on Thomas Hampson's face are etched clean through the music. We have a man who 'saves' one soul at the complete destruction of himself and the loss of his own soul and it is trully beleavable.
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