Jules Massenet


Give in to temptation

Spiritual conviction meets earthly desire … A devout monk seeks to convert Thaïs, a ravishingly beautiful courtesan, but realizes too late that his pious obsession is rooted in lust, not religion. Minnesota Opera produces Massenet’s sensual and melodic creation for the first time with Minnesota-born soprano Kelly Kaduce (Rusalka, Tosca, The Shining) in the glamorous title role. Set in the deserts and oases of fourth-century Egypt, this searing drama explores the conflict between the passion of the flesh and the salvation of the soul.

Preliminary runtime of 3 hours, including two intermissions.

Sung in French with English translations projected above the stage.




  • Cast & Creative Team

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  • Synopsis

    Cenobite monks enjoy a modest evening meal outside their huts. Palémon, their leader, says a brief prayer, and all notice the return of Athanaël, one of their brethren. He is considered especially devout, due to the frequency of his dreams. He soon arrives, distracted by his notion of a corrupt city and the woman he admired in his youth, the scandalous courtesan, Thaïs. 

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  • Listen

    Listen to Thaïs on Spotify.

  • Composer Biography

    Jules Massenet was the most prominent and prolific composer of French opera in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with more than 30 operas to his credit. Born the twelfth child in a typical bourgeois provincial family, Jules first studied piano with his mother. His skills were sufficient to be accepted by the Paris Conservatoire, where in 1859, he won first prize for piano performance. He spent his early adulthood giving lessons, providing entertainment at local cafés and playing timpani in the orchestra pits of the major opera houses.

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