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MANON Barcelona 2023 Nadine Sierra, Michael Fabiano, Alexandre Duhamel, Laurent Naouri

Popular Singers in this Opera Recording

Video Recording from: Liceu+     FULL VIDEO
Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: Liceu+  
  • Date Published: 2023  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: yessubs, essubs  
  • Video Recording from: Liceu+     FULL VIDEO

Quote from

“Preachers, you who want to restore me to virtue, tell me that virtue is absolutely necessary, but do not hide from me that it is also harsh and painful.”
A.-F. Prévost, L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut (1732) (first part)

When Abbé Antoine-François Prévost wrote L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut in 1731, he little imagined it would provide inspiration for operatic composers. Yet for Auber, Massenet, Puccini and others it did. Jules Massenet’s score portrays the French Regency period which saw the twilight of an old world unable to move forward and the apparent birth of a new world offering plentiful promises of freedom. Manon is a complex character, torn between the two. She avoids being sent to a convent and embarks on a life of lasciviousness and wrongdoing. Her personal leap into the void is her passionate but self-destructive love affair with Des Grieux, a brief but delightful parenthesis which comes to a tragic end.

Stage director Olivier Py, in his much-lauded production for the Grand Théâtre de Genève, eludes the historical trap of 18th-century libertinage to create associations with memorable but vulgar scenes in sordid, commonplace brothels. One of his images is unforgettable: that of Des Grieux finding Manon in a state of prostration but adorning herself with jewels which can do nothing to restore happiness or meaning to her life.

The opera Massenet drew from Prévost’s novel was premiered at the Opéra-Comique in 1884. Touched by the entrancingly spontaneous music, the audience were able to overlook the protagonists’ amoral and tortuous existence. Manon, who yearns above all for luxury and comfort, lapses into betrayal and prostitution and is sentenced to be deported to Louisiana. Her death in the arms of the powerless and remorseful Des Grieux carries a sobering message. From a misogynistic viewpoint, Manon’s strength and ability to embody wrongdoing and moral ruin have made her a literary myth on a par with the likes of Cleopatra, Eve, Salome, Carmen or Lulu.


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