Thursday, April 03, 2014

LA Opera Talk: Jules Massenet’s Thaïs

Sunday, May 4, 2:00 p.m.

Religion, ecstasy, lust… these are the fundamental motivations of the opera Thaïs by Jules Massenet. With a libretto by Louis Gallet based on a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Anatole France, the opera tells of the conflict between the love of human pleasures and a devotion to God that ultimately consumes the lives of the two principal characters — the monk Athanaël and the courtesan Thaïs.

Using video clips from DVDs of three different productions of the opera, Community Educator RON STREICHER will present an uncensored exposé of the fate of this classic "fallen woman." (Because of the provocative sexual references and nudity, this presentation is rated "R" - not recommended for children.) Like Manon, which was written only a few years earlier, Thaïs was composed at the height of La Belle Epoque in Paris and is one of the most well-known of Massenet's more than two dozen operas.

Ron Streicher began his career in music as a pianist, percussionist, and choral conductor. His interest migrated to audio production while a volunteer for the music department of a public radio station in LA. That avocation subsequently evolved into a career that now spans nearly five decades as an independent audio consultant and recording engineer specializing in live performances.

Ron’s love for opera was kindled while playing tympani in the pit orchestra of the UCLA Opera Theatre and rapidly grew to an overwhelming passion. His career as an audio engineer has afforded him the opportunity to work with the touring companies of the New York City Opera and Metropolitan Opera, and during his eighteen summers with the Aspen Music Festival and School, he served as the recording engineer and sound designer for more than fifty opera productions. His book, The New Stereo Soundbook is now in its third edition and has gained worldwide recognition as a standard reference on the subject of stereophonic perception, recording, and reproduction techniques.
Mark this date on the social calendar as Crowell Library celebrates LA Opera’s 2013/2014 season. Light refreshments will be served.