Jonathan Kent’s new production of Manon Lescaut recorded at the Royal Opera House in 2014, includes a stellar cast, featuring Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann in the roles of the young lovers Manon Lescaut and the Chevalier des Grieux. Kent brings this 19th-century classic to a 2014 setting, non-naturalistic and theatrical. Supporting the action on stage is the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, with their venerable Music Director Antonio Pappano.
"From the moment Kaufmann and Opolais embark – with infinite delicacy – on their emotional journey, it becomes clear that this is a vocal marriage made in heaven. His warmly burnished sound is balanced by the exquisitely nuanced purity of hers, and they are supported by a performance in the pit, under Antonio Pappano, of rare refinement." – The Independent
The opening credits of this disc refer to is as 'The other Manon'. Most opera fans will be familiar with the operas on the subject of Manon Lescaut by Puccini and Massenet, but this opera comique, dating from 1856, predates both of them, and was popular enough in its day. The story is very different in most respects from those of the more familiar operas; Manon and her friend Marguerite are seamstresses; she loves des Greeiux, but is persued by the Marquis d'Herigny, who is the commanding officer of her brother's regiment; he insists that her brother helps him to seduce her. This is achieved by putting des Grieux in the awkward position of being unable to settle a restaurant bill; to preserve his honour he obtains the money by enlisting in d'Herigny's regiment, thus putting him in his rival's power…
By Mrs. E. Watts (Barnsley England)
The first of Puccini's operas to become popular, Manon Lescaut is a study of a composer reaching his youthful maturity. Each act is a little less flabby than the one that came before it. By the time we reach Act Four, Puccini has built up a full head of steam, and there's not much distance to traverse between Manon's death on a plain near New Orleans and Mimi's death in a garret in Paris. To get there, we start with an Act One that has its moments (notably the tenor's "Donna non vidi mai," although Puccini cannibalized it from an earlier work), an Act Two that has the heartbreakingly simple "In quelle trine morbide" and a whiz-bang climax, and an Act Three that is full of pathos – just like the equivalent act in La Bohème, but without the great set-pieces…Raymond Tuttle
This famous production of Manon Lescaut from The Royal Opera, recorded in 1983, features two of the biggest stars in opera, Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa, in their vocal prime. Placido Domingo’s performance of Des Grieux is considered to be unsurpassed. Conductor Guiseppe Sinopoli made his British operatic debut with this production. Puccini’s first masterpiece was rapturously received on its first night. It has his hallmark sensuality and also a youthful freshness, its untamed outpouring of melody just as passionate as his more famous operas, La Boheme, Tosca and Madame Butterfly. The role of Des Grieux is one of the most taxing in the tenor repertoire and Domingo’s passionate portrayal is one of his greatest achievements.
Andrea, Ana Maria and Plácido made really an excellent production. Some people said Bocelli wasn't an opera singer, but maestri like Metha, Mercurio, Maazel (R.I.P), Gergiev, Armilliato, Luisi, and now maestro Domingo tell us about the wonderful voice and the excellent operatic job of maestro Bocelli
Alors qu'à dix-sept ans, il s'apprête à quitter Amiens où il achève ses études de philosophie, des Grieux voit arriver le coche d'Arras. Une jeune fille en descend, si charmante qu'il s'avance vers elle pour l'interroger : ses parents l'envoient pour être religieuse, et elle sait qu'elle va être malheureuse. …