Stage Door News

Toronto: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra recording of Massenet’s opera “Thaïs” wins the Juno Award for Best Classical Album

Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra's recording of Massenet’s opera Thaïs is Juno Award winner for Best Classical Album: Vocal or Choral category. Alongside Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins, this live performance marks the final recording by Erin Wall, who is much missed, and thrilling as Thaïs.

Following acclaimed performances at the Edinburgh Festival and then in Melbourne, Sir Andrew Daviss recording of Massenets opera Thaïs features an outstanding cast, and exceptional performances from his Toronto forces. Written shortly after the premiere of his masterpiece Werther, Thaïs was composed for the Californian soprano Sybil Sanderson who gave the premiere at the Paris Opéra in 1894. Sanderson's performance was a triumph, but the opera itself had a mixed reception. After Massenet revised it in 1898 it went on to worldwide success in the years leading up to World War I and has enjoyed continuous and growing success in our own time. 

The role of Thaïs has drawn many great artists, including Mary Garden, Geraldine Farrar, Maria Jeritza, Leontyne Price, Beverley Sills, and Renée Fleming. According to the Financial Times, Erin Wall is the Thaïs of ones dreams, wielding a soprano of radiance, pristine beauty and tingling top notes, and she is joined on the recording by Joshua Hopkins in the role of Athanaël, while Nicias is sung by Andrew Staples.

The opera on the prestigious Chandos label is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, and for purchase on iTunes. Conducted by TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, and featuring a cast of renowned Canadian and international singers, with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Massenet: Thaïs was recorded live by Soundmirror, Inc. at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto in November 2019.

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