Friday, March 11, 2016

Manon Lescaut

Puccini's Manon Lescaut was the Met HD opera on show at the cinema last Saturday. I thought I had seen it before, but I hadn't. I think I was mixing it up with Eugene Onegin. No, the story is completely different. Maybe it was Massenet's Manon Lescaut I had seen before on Sky Arts - with Anna Netrebko I think?

Puccini's Manon was sung by Kristine Opolais, a perfect match for the role, a fantastic voice. I would certainly like to see her in more Met HD productions. Manon's love interest, des Grieux, was sung by Roberto Alagna, whom I had never seen on stage before. He brought an energy and youth to the role that belies his actual age (52). And also the fact that he had to learn the role in a matter of weeks, as he had to step in to replace Jonas Kaufmann, who pulled out at the last minute. I always thought he was Romanian. But that's his ex-wife (Angela Gheorghiu). He's actually French, of Italian origin.

I found the last act particularly powerful. The final songs were heart-wrenchingly beautiful. And the set was apocalyptic, very abstract. Which worked better for me than the sets for the first two acts, which I found distracting with all these steps - I know, I know, it's an image for social climbing, but I spent the whole time worrying that someone would have a fall.

And Puccini's music is beautiful of course, in an impressionistic way.

1 comment:

  1. Had thought I read this but on googling it I don't remember any of the story line. It sounds fascinating!!I would definitely have remembered.C