Par Camille Steiblen – Audituri Te Salutant!
La Méditation de Thaïs, played here in concert, is the name given a posteriori to a violin solo from Act II of the opera Thais, composed by Jules Massenet. It was premiered at the Paris Opera on March 16, 1894. The work was written for the famous American soprano Sibyl Sanderson, Massenet’s muse at the time. She had the role of Thaïs, a courtesan devoted to the goddess Venus, in fourth-century Alexandria, whom a monk seeks to convert to Christianity. The monk succeeds in convincing Thaïs who ends his life in fullness in a convent, while he becomes a prisoner of his attraction for Thaïs and wastes away after losing his Faith. This violin solo, the “Religious Meditation” is located in the middle of the opera, when the two destinies are reversed, precisely when Thaïs is converted.
This is an opportunity to discover a rather essential violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter, of German nationality and protected by Herbert von Karajan. She plays here in a violin/piano version, one of the many variations of the work, originally for violin and orchestra.
Unless you are fiercely allergic to the solo violin, you should not be insensitive to it!