Disc Title: Thais
Disc catalog: Arthaus 101 386 Recording Date: 2008 Program Length (Opera only - no Extras): 139 mins A live Reatro Regio Torino Production
Video rating : 5/5 Audio type: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 Audio rating: 5/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Summary comment: Strange sets (unexplained anywhere), lovely music, not always sung appealingly but overall ok.
Author: Tassie Devil Date: April 5 2010
Detailed Comment: Stefano Poda who was responsible for the stage directing, choreography, sets, costumes and lighting, must have had inspiration for this production, but just what this was, was very obtuse at times. I guess it is like modern art which can appear a jumble of incomprehensible colours unless you are prepared to place your own interpretation on it. However I'm not applauding this approach to opera as it can be most distracting and hardly assists the composer to convey the emotions he was trying to project via the voices and instruments. Costuming, scenery etc should compliment the music, not be a distraction from it. Bodies suspended from above, near nude males, mannequin arms protruding from the wall, ..... all might have significance but exactly what that was eluded me. And the dresses worn by the prostitutes and later by the nuns seemed be reversed with the prostitutes well covered in black and the nuns wearing attractive white garb!
That said this production is not a total disaster as some of the sets, lighting and ballet are most effective. The singing is dominated by the excellent voice of Lado Ataneli in the lead role of the monk who is intent on converting the courtesian Thias from her wicked ways. I was most unimpressed with the warbling voice of Alessandro Liberatore, despite high praise of him from Pavorotti, but fortunately he only has a minor role early in the opera. The other lead singer, Barbara Frittoli as Thias, had a difficult challenge and although she handled it capably, her voice did not appeal to me. Please take that as a personal subjective judgement as you might like it.
This opera has some beautiful music, much of it particularly well sung, so, if you can avoid being perplexed by some of the staging and sets (very difficult to do at times) then it could be a worthy addition to your collection. The video and audio quality are first class. And for once there is a comprehensive Synopsis in the booklet, but absolutely no discussion either in the booklet or in any extra to explain exactly what Stefano Poda was aiming at. So, like the curate's egg, this is a mixed bag.
Edited by Tassie Devil, 05 April 2010 - 09:59 AM.