Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Loved that piece of music you just heard? Support the programming you enjoy by becoming a WWFM member with your financial contribution today. Thank you!

A Portrait of Manon is Jules Massenet's sequel to Manon

1894 was a prolific year for Jules Massenet, even by the standards of this composer who worked constantly, and who wrote 20 operas in one 28 year period. Thais premiered in March of 1894, his one act verismo La Navarraise in November of that year, and in between in May, tonight's one act A Portrait of Manon.

With a libretto by Georges Boyer, It continues the story of Massenet's 1884 success, Manon. Des Grieux is now an old man, still obsessed with memories of his lost love Manon, and he keeps a portrait of her in a sealed box. He is worried when his impressionable young nephew Jean tells of his love for a penniless girl, Aurore. Des Grieux is convinced that Aurore is little more than a gold-digger. Persuaded by his friend Tiberg, Des Grieux comes to realize that the young couple's love is genuine when they discover the portrait of Manon and it is revealed that Aurore is, in fact, the niece of his beloved Manon. In the last scene she even wears the dress Manon wore when she first met Des Grieux.

Our performance this week features baritone Zhenzhong Zhou as Des Grieux, soprano Hanna Hipp as his nephew Jean, Soprano Susana Gaspar as Aurore, and tenor Pablo Bemsch as Tiberge. Geoffrey Patterson conducts the Southbank Sinfonia.

Mike Harrah is host of The Lyric Stage, which airs Sundays at 8 pm.