Jules Massenet


Nov 11 - Dec 2

Ailyn Pérez is the alluring courtesan and Gerald Finley is the holy man who tries to resist her powers of seduction in Massenet’s tale of sensuality versus spirituality. Emmanuel Villaume conducts.

Production a gift of Mercedes and Sid Bass

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • French
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 3 hrs 16 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 49 mins
  • Intermission 31 mins
  • Act II 43 mins
  • Intermission 29 mins
  • Act III 44 mins
  • Opera Ends
Nov 11 - Dec 2

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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Premiere: Paris Opéra, 1894. Jules Massenet’s opera about the power of feminine allure and the desperation of male obsession has served as a showcase for a variety of great artists in the lead roles. Thaïs is an Egyptian courtesan and priestess of Venus whom the Christian monk Athanaël seeks to reform. While she ultimately achieves salvation, he falls prey to his growing lust for the woman. Although Massenet composed Thaïs for the Paris Opéra, where spectacle was often the order of the day, he wisely concentrated on the inner lives of the two lead roles. The result is an opera as seductive as its heroine, a fascinating story of two people locked in an opposing yet parallel metamorphosis.


Jules Massenet (1842–1912) a French composer wildly popular in his day, was noted for his operas, songs, and oratorios. His somewhat sentimental style lost popularity in the early 20th century, with only his romantic treasure Manon (1884) maintaining a steady place in the repertory. Many of his other operas, especially Werther (1892) and Thaïs, have found places for themselves in the repertory in the last few decades. The libretto for Thaïs was written by Louis Gallet (1835–1898), a prolific writer who provided other theatrical adaptations for composers such as Bizet and Saint-Saëns.

Production John Cox

Costumes for the role of Thaïs Christian Lacroix

Lighting Designer Duane Schuler

Choreographer Sara Jo Slate

Jules Massenet


Jules Massenet


The opera takes place in the city of Alexandria, Egypt, and in the surrounding desert, in the fourth century A.D. Alexandria was a cosmopolitan city, while the harsh desert was the birthplace of the severe traditions of hermits and monks. The setting reflects the conflict of human passion and religious fervor that is at the core of the drama.