|Range:||D4 - D6|
|Translation:||Tell me that I am fair, and that I shall be fair for ever!|
“Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of Them All?” This phrase is infamously tied to the classic Disney film Snow White but a slice of it’s history could be credited to Louis Gallet, the librettist of Jules Massenet’s opera Thaïs. The breathtaking and expansively lyric aria that the title character Thaïs sings to a mirror, Dis-moi que je suis belle, translates to: “Tell me that I am fair, and that I shall be fair for ever!”
Vanity is the central force of this aria. Thaïs is in a vulnerable state; exhausted and empty after a feast she pleads with her mirror and Venus, the god of love, to assure her that her beauty will last for eternity. The aria encompasses a two octave range and if that’s not demanding enough, it demands a high level of dynamic control. Dis-moi que je suis belle is but a sliver of the role of Thaïs which is most effective with a full lyric soprano exhibiting exquisite vocal technique and emotional abandonment.
Thaïs exists in a line of many famous roles that involve a courtesan as the main character. Renée Fleming is the most recent singer that has excelled in the role and is among many greats of the past including Carol Neblett, Anna Moffo, Beverly Sills and Leontyne Price.
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