Manon Lescaut

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE (RECORDED 2014)

3-17 November 2020

Recorded Opera

Puccini’s first triumph returned to Covent Garden for the first time in 30 years in a new staging by Jonathan Kent, starring Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann.

Puccini’s publisher tried to prevent him from adapting Abbé Prévost’s L’Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut – Massenet had already created a highly successful opera based on the novel. But Puccini was not to be dissuaded, claiming ‘a woman like Manon can have more than one lover’. Despite a troubled gestation (five librettists were engaged in the project), the premiere of Manon Lescaut in 1893 was Puccini’s first major triumph – a hit with both public and critics. Puccini’s sumptuous, richly-coloured score is characterized by youthful vitality and filled with glorious melodies, from Des Grieux and Manon’s passionate duet ‘Vedete? io son fedele’ to the overwhelming desolation of Manon’s final aria ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’.

Jonathan Kent – director of The Royal Opera’s Tosca – finds contemporary resonance in the story of a woman tempted and misguided into acting against her best interests, and who finally receives retribution far more severe than her actions could ever deserve. Designs by Paul Brown create a harsh environment riven through with societal hypocrisy, in which Manon is trapped by those who will exploit her – and from which the only escape can be death.

Music

Giacomo Puccini

Director

Jonathan Kent

Conductor

Antonio Pappano

Cast

Kristine Opolais (Manon Lescaut), Jonas Kaufmann (Chevalier Des Grieux)

Cinema Info & Tickets

Production Information

  • Territory Rights: UK ONLY
  • Recorded Opera Production
  • Running time (approx): 155 minutes
  • Sung in Italian with English subtitles
  • Encore screenings: until Tuesday 17 November 2020