|Set for Thaïs at FNO (left) and Tommi Hakala (right)|
Finnish barihunk Tommi Hakala will sing the role of the Cenobite monk Athanaël with the exciting soprano Veronika Dzhioeva in the title role of Massenet's Thaïs at the Finnish National Opera from December 18-January 9. Tickets are available online. The company is using the sets from the Los Angeles Opera, which placed the opera at the turn of the 20th century with dazzling gold costumes.
Thaïs takes place in Egypt during Byzantine rule, where Athanaël, attempts to convert Thaïs, an Alexandrian courtesan and devotee of Venus, to Christianity, but discovers too late that his obsession with her is rooted in lust; while the courtesan's true purity of heart is revealed, so is the religious man's baser nature.
Michel Dens sings the Air d'Athanaël from Thais:
He returns to the Finnish National Opera in May to sing Kurnewal in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. In July, he heads to the Savonlinna Festival to portray the sinister Iago in Verdi's Otello. The Salzburg Festival will also feature Thaīs this summer with Sonya Yoncheva in the title role and Placido Domingo as Athanaël.
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