“…there’s a real surge of emotion at the climax of the Act 2 duet with Joshua Hopkins’s outstanding Athanaël. His is a remarkable, unforgettable performance, sung with consistently expressive beauty, and quite superbly characterised, with every second of Athanaël’s progress from prurient fanaticism to desire, atheism and despair registering with quite astonishing vividness. Hopkins . . . makes the new recording more than well worth hearing . . .” Gramophone, Tim Ashley, August 2020.

“Dark of presence, Joshua Hopkins makes a vehement Athanaël, riven by an inner conflict that causes him to destroy the object of his love and then despairingly to recognise his own faith as a lie.” BBC Music Magazine, George Hall, July 16, 2020.

“Joshua Hopkins’ Athanaël has stamina to spare and copes admirably with the demanding tessitura. His opening “Hélas! Enfant encore” leads naturally into the orchestral vision of Thaïs and then into a dark and anguished “Toi qui mis la pitié dans nos âmes”, the voice already tinged with a fanatical edge born of contradictory motives. His ambiguity-laden greeting to the city of sin “Voilà donc la terrible cite” is spectacular in its lyrical line and burnished timbral beauty.” Limelight Magazine, Clive Paget, August 27, 2020.

“His aria, “Voilà donc la terrible cité!” is sung with fierce emotion, as he rages against the sins he hates so much. Enveloping the vocal line with a strident uncompromising veneer, Hopkins skillfully places accents and dynamic inflections to create a well-crafted picture of a religious zealot. In the opening lines of the aria, however, Hopkins successfully highlights Athanaël’s hypocrisy as he sings almost with pride of the “terrible” city of Alexandria, the city of his birth, the city of sin. Athanaël’s one act of genuine sympathy comes as he cleans Thaïs’ bleeding feet, which precipitates the central duet, “Baigne d’eau mes mains et mes lévres.” His voice blends sympathetically with an exhausted Thaïs and, for the only time in the opera, he exhibits kindness towards another human being. Even as Thaïs lies dying, one cannot help but think that he is grieving for himself. It is an excellent performance, one that gets to the heart of the character.” Operawire, Alan Neilson, August 17, 2020.