NCPA Opera Thaïs premeries through Feb 6th

NCPA February/03/2018
The NCPA launches the China debut of Thaïs on Feb 2nd

The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has gathered together Plácido Domingo, French opera conductor, Patrick Fournillier, famed director, set and costume designer, Hugo de Ana and other world-class artists in its production of Thaïs, opening the evening of February 2nd.

Plácido Domingo sings Athanaël
Ermonela Jaho sings the title role

Led by soprano, Ermonela Jaho, at the pinnacle of her career, and Plácido Domingo, a cast from around the world a dazzling rendition of Massenet’s classic examination of humanity, desire and faith.

Maestro Domingo presents the audience a taste of his “kingly” style

The assemblage of world-class artists by the NCPA marks the first appearance of Thaïs on a Chinese theatre stage. Maestro Domingo his supreme talents for the fourth time at the NCPA productions, giving the audience a taste of his “kingly” style. Having just celebrated his 77th birthday, Domingo and the young monk, Athanaël may have a huge age gap. Nevertheless, the master the rich textures and penetrating power of his voice and deep understanding of the character’s complex inner world of confusion, to communicate a profound interpretation of Athanaël’s initial devotion to his faith, his intrepidity in saving Thaïs’ soul and his suffering at the hands of inextricable desire.

Thaïs and Athanaël sing one lovely duet after another, and Jaho and Domingo are a perfect match

In her premiere at the NCPA, Ermonela Jaho, gives an eye-catching performance. The beautiful timbre of her voice and intensity of her vocal control, give full expression to the many rich layers of Thaïs, the conceited social butterfly and Thaïs, the chaste saint. In the famous mirror aria, Dis-moi que je suis belle, Jaho renders Thaïs’ terror before the fading of her beauty and vitality in old age and the fearful conflict of finding her true self that all women experience. Thaïs and Athanaël sing one lovely duet after another, and Jaho and Domingo are a perfect match.

Besides the two stars, Italian tenor, Alessandro Liberatore and Chinese vocalists including, ZHANG Wenwei, JIA Kun, DONG Fang, DUAN Nina, HONG Zhiguang and ZHANG Wenqin also put in a tremendous effort to bring the opera’s characters to life.

Holding the conductor’s baton is Patrick Fournillier, an expert on Massenet, who has collaborated with Domingo several times on this opera. Under his direction, the China NCPA Orchestra portrays in alternating pure and vibrant tones, the solemnity of the monastic world and the bustling decadence of Alexandria. The China NCPA Orchestra’s first chair, LI Zhe, lends abundant emotion to the audience favourite, Méditation, bringing forth its inherent spiritual power. And the China NCPA Chorus gives infectious expression to the august stateliness of the monks and the lavish opulence of the Alexandrian citizenry.

Hugo De Ana decks the stage in rich, dynamic symbolism

A suspended crown of thorns, a wooden platform, an area framed in 19th century style, a mirror, a giant bust of Venus — this is Hugo De Ana’s vision for the stage. He decks the stage in rich, dynamic symbolism to depict the characters’ spiritual quests, their desire for luxury and entertainment, their yearning for eternal youth, and the struggle of the male and female lead roles, lingering indecisively between spirit and flesh.

On the evening of the third, this opera will be performed by a different ensemble cast including Davinia Rodriguez, Marc Barrard, LI Yi, and Deyan Vatchkov. It continues until the sixth of this month in February.

Photos by LING Feng, XIAO Yi & GAO Shang
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