Opera Scotland


Tours by decade

1880s - 1 tour

1885 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1920s - 2 tours

1927 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1928 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1950s - 1 tour

1954 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2000s - 2 tours

2001 - English Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2009 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2010s - 1 tour

2012 - Metropolitan Opera
Cinema Screening

Tours by location

Jules Massenet (born Montaud, Loire, 12 May 1842; died Paris, 13 August 1912)

Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille.

Novel L’histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut (1731) by Abbé Prévost (1697-1763).

First performance: Paris (Opéra-Comique), 19 January 1884.
First UK performance: Liverpool (Royal Court Theatre), 17 January 1885.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Royal Lyceum Theatre), 11 November 1885.
Scottish Opera premiere: Glasgow (Theatre Royal), 20 May 2009.

The subject of Manon Lescaut was a popular one with composers in the 19th century, from Balfe and Auber, to Massenet and Puccini. Even though the last has many good things, there can be little doubt that Massenet’s is the masterpiece. It quickly became one of the most successful French operas. It contains a range of scenes, contrasting luxury and squalor, as the characters enjoy a career that leads inexorably to the heroine’s demise. Much of the music is glittering and witty, but when required it can be touching, and the scenes where Manon lures her lover from the church and her death scene are both powerfully dramatic.

Main Characters
Manon Lescaut (soprano)
Chevalier des Grieux (tenor)
Lescaut, a Royal Guardsman, Manon’s cousin (baritone)
Guillot de Morfontaine, a government minister (tenor)
De Brétigny, a nobleman, commanding a regiment (baritone)
Poussette, Javotte and Rosette, three actresses (sopranos)
Comte des Grieux, father of Chevalier des Grieux (bass)

Plot Summary
The opera is set in France in 1721. In the square at Amiens Lescaut is escorting his beautiful young cousin Manon to a convent. She attracts the attention of two dissolute noblemen, Guillot and De Brétigny, who are passing through with a group of actresses. However Manon is more attracted to Des Grieux, a young student who has also fallen for her. They use the coach hired by Guillot and abscond to Paris, where they live together for some time. As their money runs out and Des Grieux feels the effect of his father’s disapproval, Manon is lured away from him by De Brétigny’s money. Des Grieux decides to enter the church despite his father’s opposition. Once Manon becomes bored with her life of luxury she tracks Des Grieux down and he abandons his vocation to return to her. Desperate for money, they become involved in gambling and Des Grieux is falsely accused of cheating while Manon is arrested for prostitution. She is sentenced to transportation to Louisiana. Des Grieux follows her as the convicts are marched to the ship at Le Havre. He bribes the guards to leave her behind, but she is too weak to benefit and dies by the roadside.

The Cast

Chevalier des Grieux
Comte des Grieux
 the Chevalier's father
De Br├ętigny
 a nobleman
Guillot de Morfontaine
 Finance Minister
 an actress
 a Guards officer, Manon's cousin
 Manon Lescaut
 an actress
 an actress

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