Meditation Thais

April 20, 2023

Meditation Thais

Meditation Thais is a popular concert piece, often played as an encore. It has a wonderful melody, and is arranged for many different instruments.

The opera is a study of the battle between religion and hedonism. This was a conflict that was a major concern in France during the time of Massenet’s life, as La Belle Epoque attempted to secularize France.

In the second act of his opera Thais, the monk Athanael is determined to convert a courtesan named Thais from her hedonistic lifestyle into a life of religious piety. When he hears about her performances, he decides to return to Alexandria and convince her to change her ways.

After his departure, Thais begins to question her own worthiness of being a courtesan and considers whether or not she can be saved by God. She is also haunted by a dream in which she sees her beauty being defaced and her feet bleeding.

When Athanael tells her that he is leaving to be a monk, she asks him to stay with her. He agrees, but she makes it clear that she does not want to leave her life of sin behind.

Athanael then leaves the city to visit a friend, Nicias, who is Thais’s former lover. At a party, they clash in public.

Athanael convinces her that she will find salvation through his love, and she makes a commitment to follow him to the desert. She collapses after she has made her decision, but Athanael returns and brings her to a nun’s convent.


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