Thursday, March 19, 2015

Merola Goes to the Movies: Manon (1996)

The opera Manon is based an a novel by Abbé Prévost (Antoine-François Prévost), a some time member of the Benedictine order.  His L’histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut provided inspiration to many dramatic works -- a ballet by Halévy, an earlier opera by Auber, Puccini's well-known Manon Lescaut. In more recent years this tale has been revived as Hans Werner Henze's opera Boulevard Solitude and the French feature film Manon 70 with music by Serge Gainsbourg.

In the libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille, Manon Lescaut, a sheltered teen, is on her way to a convent when she falls madly in love with the Chevalier des Grieux. Their relationship goes through ups and downs ending in her downfall.  This operatic masterwork takes you to the splendors of Paris to the desolation of a Louisiana swamp, all set to Massenet's ravishing score.

This filmed performance is directed by Vincent Paterson with the Staatskapelle Berlin and features two alumni from the Merola Opera Program, Anna Netrebko (Merola 1996) and Rolando Villazón (Merola 1998).

Please join us this Sunday in the Koret Auditorium for the 1 p.m.  Admission is free. Seating begins at 12:30 pm.

The article about Manon in the Grove Music Online (part of the subscription database Oxford Music Online) provides an excellent introduction to the opera as does Henry W. Simon's 100 Great Operas And Their Stories (Doubleday, 1989).

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