If you enjoy La bohème, Madam Butterfly and Tosca you will want to explore Puccini’s breakthrough hit and first great opera.
Manon has been seduced. As an impressionable young woman she wanted it all. She wanted to taste the tempting fruit of adult life. Now just months later she has discovered that the fruit is rotten at the core. Does Manon have any chance of salvation?
Manon Lescaut is the classic Fallen Woman. Puccini charts her rapid descent from innocent to criminal with feverish intensity. By setting this production in the contemporary world we all recognise, Marius Trelinski's production brings this breathless tale of obsession and self-destruction urgently to life.
Cast & Creative
Evening in a big city, the end of a working day. Des Grieux is caught in a matrix of daily routine and longs for love as a means of escape. A woman emerges from the crowd. Manon is accompanied by her brother, Lescaut, and an older man, the ruthless and powerful Geronte. Des Grieux is infatuated. Lescaut sees his sister as a bargaining card, a means of obtaining money. He arranges to make her available to Geronte. Des Grieux and Manon decide to escape together, to Geronte’s fury. Lescaut assures him that she will be easy to find – she cannot live far from luxury.
Manon has chosen an extravagant public life with Geronte. She misses Des Grieux, who is trying to find enough money to win her back. At a party in her honour, surrounded by lustful admirers, Manon is bored. When Des Grieux appears, she manages to placate his anger and he is unable to resist. Geronte comes across them both and Manon mocks him. Des Grieux begs her to come away with him again but she hesitates, unwilling to leave all that luxury behind. Lescaut warns them to hurry but it is too late. Geronte accuses Manon of stealing and she is arrested.
Manon is imprisoned and Des Grieux attempts to visit her but is frustrated, despite Lescaut’s efforts. Along with other degraded and humiliated women, Manon is to be deported.
Somewhere between sleep and death, delusion and reality, the dream of Manon falls apart. Des Grieux prays for help from a God from whom he turned away as a boy but Manon, insatiably desiring and desired, is lost to him.