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The most famous of Massenet's operas, Manon is a time capsule from Paris' "Belle Epoque," a time of great progress and thriving culture. Set to a lyrical score, it wrestles with issues of wealth, class, love, and loss. Get your Manon tickets today to see this compelling tale performed in vivid life before your very eyes.
About the Show:
Jules Massenet's most famous work, Manon is an opera comique with a French libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille. It is based on Abbe Prevost's 1731 novel L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut (Interestingly, Massenet worked on the score at a house in The Hague once inhabited by Prevost himself). Premiering on January 19, 1884, Manon was created as an artifact of the charming music and culture of the "Belle Epoque" of Paris, the golden age of discovery and prosperity from the late nineteenth century to the first World War. Due in part to its documentation of this elegant tradition, it quickly achieved an important place in the operatic repertoire, which it retains to this day. Today, it is frequently performed in venues in more than a dozen countries, including New York's Metropolitan Opera and London's Royal Opera House. Order your Manon tickets today and celebrate this glorious historical tradition for yourself!
Act I: In 1721 Amiens, France, elderly rake Guillot and his rich friend Monsieur de Bretigny arrive at an inn with three promiscuous actresses: Poussette, Javotte, and Rosette. As they retire to dinner, the guardsman Lescaut awaits the arrival of a coach from Arras. When it arrives, he greets his fair cousin, Manon, who is on her way to the convent. The lascivious Guillot approaches Manon and propositions her, and though she rejects him, Lescaut lectures her to behave properly. Once again alone, she muses on the glamorous lives of the actresses but quickly reproaches her envious thoughts. Just then, the Chevalier des Grieux arrives on his way to see his father, the Comte. Upon seeing Manon, he falls in love, and she is charmed. Their interaction quickly progresses to declarations of love and the two steal away to Paris in the drunken Guillot's coach.
Act II: In their Paris apartment, des Grieux writes to his father begging permission to marry Manon. Lescaut enters with a disguised de Bretigny, who has his eye on Manon. Trying to ensure Lescaut of his noble intentions, des Grieux shows him the letter. Meanwhile, de Bretigny warns Manon that she is to be kidnapped that evening at the order of the Comte des Grieux, but says he can save her with his wealth and power. When the visitors depart, Manon wrestles with her options: to warn her lover or to move on to a better life. When he leaves to mail his letter, she makes the decision to leave. Just as he returns to share his vision of their life together, he is abducted and Manon is left with her regrets.
Act III: Throngs gather in the promenade of the Cours-la-Reine on a feast day. Lescaut and Guillot are joined by de Bretigny and Manon, now dressed opulently and declaring the joys of youth and love. Des Grieux's father, the Comte des Grieux, enters with news that his son has entered the monastery. Brushing off a special ballet performance arranged for her by Guillot, she rushes away, consumed by an urge to see whether des Grieux still loves her.
At the chapel, des Grieux is praised for his service; his father tries to persuade him to give up this new life so that he can carry on the family line, but he is unsuccessful. When Manon arrives asking his forgiveness for her abandonment, he is at first unmoved. But when she reminds him of their passionate past, he is overcome and they are reunited in love.
Act IV: Some time later, in a gambling parlor at the Hotel de Transylvanie, Lescaut, Guillot, and the three actresses are joined by Manon and des Grieux. Wishing to provide Manon with the wealth she yearns for, des Grieux begins playing, but after he wins several games in a row, Guillot accuses him of cheating and accuses Manon of being morally lax. As Guillot revels in his revenge, Manon laments her fate, and des Grieux vows to protect her, police arrive, arrest the lovers, and take them away.
Act V: Though des Grieux has been freed thanks to his father's connections, Manon is defamed and condemned to be deported. Hoping to rescue her, Lescaut and des Grieux bribe the soldiers to release her. But Manon is fatally ill, and just as she begins reliving their former happiness in des Grieux's arms, she dies.
Run Time:Approximately 4 hours and 10 minutes
Advisory:Due to length, format, and some adult themes, recommended for teens and older.
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