Manon and Armand are in love. But can their love survive when a world of sex, drugs and crime intrudes on their happiness?
Hans Werner Henze’s powerful, intoxicating opera is a compelling vision of post-war Europe. Combining jazz, 19th century opera and 20th century styles - this is opera but not as you know it.
Award winning Theatre, Opera and Film Director Mariusz Trelinski sets his production against a gritty, cinematic backdrop of an underground station where temptation and lust lurk around every corner.
Boulevard Solitude is performed by a world-class cast alongside the WNO Chorus and Orchestra. Join us for an evening at the theatre which promises to overwhelm the senses.
Boulevard Solitude is better than perfect
The Financial Times
A deserved triumph for WNO
Cast & Creative
Armand des Grieux and his friend Francis are at a train station. Manon is being taken to a finishing school by her brother, Lescaut. She and Armand strike up a conversation and are immediately attracted to one another. Manon decides to go away with Armand. Lescaut watches them leave.
Armand and Manon are happy together but have no money. Lescaut tries to persuade Manon to take a rich lover – he has someone in mind who would support her and be a source of income for himself as well. He tells her that she must be hard-hearted to succeed in life and that she must choose between comfort and poverty.
Manon is now the spoilt mistress of Monsieur Lilaque. She writes to Armand, telling him that she misses him. Lescaut is furious that she is thinking of her old lover rather than her current protector. Lescaut’s various deals are not going well and he attempts to steal some money. He is discovered by Lilaque, who throws them both out.
Armand, Francis and other students are studying erotic Latin poetry by Catullus. Armand is distracted and unable to forget Manon. He refuses to believe that she can be guilty when Francis tells him of the theft of the money. Manon and Armand are temporarily reunited.
Manon has left Armand again and he is taking drugs to help him forget her. Lescaut is looking for his sister – he has a new client for her, Lilaque’s son. Manon arrives and attempts to calm the frantic Armand but fails. She leaves with young Lilaque but sends a message, asking Armand to meet her later.
Manon and Armand are together in young Lilaque’s apartment. Lescaut comes to warn Armand to get out before he is discovered. There is a painting on the wall which Lescaut decides to steal but he is interrupted by the arrival of Monsieur Lilaque. Manon tries to distract him but he finds Armand and Lescaut in their hiding place and calls the police. Lescaut pushes a gun into Manon’s hand and she fires. Young Lilaque returns to find Manon with the gun and the dead body of his father.
Manon is being taken to prison. Armand hopes to catch a final glimpse of her but she is taken away before they have a chance to speak.