Massenet's Manon on The Lyric Stage this Sunday
This Sunday (12/5 at 8 pm) on the Lyric stage we have Jules Massenet’s take on the story of Manon Lescaut, the character from the Abbe Provost's 1731 novel who also so fascinated Giacomo Puccini. Massenet’s Manon, written in 1884, eight years before Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, tells the same story of the very young lovers Des Grieux and Manon. Manon is a young girl who is being sent to a convent by her family. She runs into Des Grieux, who falls instantly in love with her, and they decide to elope and run away to Paris. They live happily for some time, until Manon is persuaded to leave Des Grieux for the promise of luxury and riches with De Brétigny. Some time later, Des Grieux is so devastated that he has decided to enter into the priesthood. Manon hears of this and rushes to convince him of their love. The two are reunited, until they gamble away their fortune and are both arrested for cheating in a game. While Des Grieux is released, Manon is sentenced to long years in prison and deportation to America. Des Grieux seeks her out to rescue her, but arrives too late. Manon dies in his arms.
Victoria de los Angeles and Henri Legai head the cast with Pierre Monteaux conducting the chorus and Orchestra of the National theater of the Opera Comique in this recording from 1955.