Thursday, March 10, 2016

Manon Lescaut in HD


Manon...................Kristine Opolais (soprano)
Des Grieux............Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Lescaut.................Massimo Cavalletti (baritone)
Geronte.................Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Conductor...............Fabio Luisi
Production..............Richard Eyre

I missed the live simulcast of Puccini's Manon Lescaut from the Metropolitan Opera but saw the repeat last night.  Our old movie theater is gone, and we are required to drive a much longer distance.

There were a lot of complaints in the reviews about the look of the production.  I know people who only go to the opera if the costumes look like this:


And hate that it now looks like this:


But if I apply my usual criterion, I must say that for explaining the action, you could not beat this.  Every line of dialog in the complex second act was enacted vividly, clearly and understandably. The bombed out church is a "wasteland" idea is iffy, I admit, but the action in that act is not complex.  She complains that she is lost and abandoned, and she dies.  The actors complained about all the stairs.

It is somewhat shocking that Roberto Alagna has never sung this opera before.  He could not be more perfect.  He projected youthfulness incredibly well and sang up a storm.  Both vocally and dramatically Kristine is more in tune with Jonas, but I must say I loved Alagna and Opolais together.  This pairing will repeat for Madama Butterfly.

The Met will be sorry to lose Fabio Luisi.

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