by Jules Massenet
, first produced on March 16th, 1894 at the Paris
Opéra. It's the strange sad story of a monk
and a famous courtesan
, who all Paris is talking about. He knew her when younger, and, feeling protective towards her, resolves to convert her from a life of dishonour to a life of piety
. They meet and talk: she sends him away. Later she converts and as she is led away by nuns, the monk realises he is in love with her. She falls ill and dies (like so many operatic heroines) a holy death, while he confesses his earthly love, now doomed to frustration.
Notable for the Meditation, an orchestral interlude of great beauty - intended to convey the thoughts of Thaïs while contemplating giving up her sinful life.