Royal Opera House – 2020 – Manon Lescaut

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Manon Lescaut

The Royal Opera – Recorded in 2014

Global screening date: 3 November

Starring: Kristine Opolais, Jonas Kaufmann, Christopher Maltman

Conductor: Antonio Pappano

Composer: Giacomo Puccini

Director: Jonathan Kent

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*TRANSLATION IN PROGRESS*

Puccini’s first triumph returns to Covent Garden for the first time in 30 years in a new staging by Jonathan Kent.

When Manon meets the young student Des Grieux they fall in love. They elope – but when the elderly Geronte offers Manon a life of wealth and luxury, her head is turned.

Manon cannot forget Des Grieux. Des Grieux attempts to flee with her, but before they can escape, Geronte has Manon arrested. They escape, but, on the run again, Manon collapses from exhaustion. She dies in Des Grieux’s arms.

Puccini’s publisher tried to prevent him from adapting Abbé Prévost’s L’Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut – Massenet had already created a highly successful opera based on the novel. But Puccini was not to be dissuaded, claiming ‘a woman like Manon can have more than one lover’. Despite a troubled gestation (five librettists were engaged in the project), the premiere of Manon Lescaut in 1893 was Puccini’s first major triumph – a hit with both public and critics. Puccini’s sumptuous, richly-coloured score is characterized by youthful vitality and filled with glorious melodies, from Des Grieux and Manon’s passionate duet ‘Vedete? io son fedele’ to the overwhelming desolation of Manon’s final aria ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’.

Jonathan Kent – director of The Royal Opera’s Tosca – created this production of Manon Lescaut in 2014, The Royal Opera’s first production of the opera in 30 years. Kent finds contemporary resonance in the story of a woman tempted and misguided into acting against her best interests, and who finally receives retribution far more severe than her actions could ever deserve. Designs by Paul Brown create a harsh environment riven through with societal hypocrisy, in which Manon is trapped by those who will exploit her – and from which the only escape can be death.

Celebrate classic Royal Opera House productions this Autumn in cinemas across the globe

Today the Royal Opera House is excited to announce its Autumn Winter 2020 Cinema Season, broadcasting four opera and ballet favourites to cinemas across the globe in collaboration with event cinema distributor, Trafalgar Releasing.

The Season opens on 20 October with The Royal Ballet’s Giselle, a tale of betrayal, the supernatural and a love that transcends death. Recorded in 2016, this much-loved classical ballet stars Principal dancers Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov.  Looking ahead to 10 December, The Nutcracker, also recorded in 2016, makes a welcome return to cinema screens. Peter Wright’s spectacular production has been enchanting children and adults since its first performance by The Royal Ballet in 1984. This performance features Principal dancers Lauren Cuthbertson, Federico Bonelli, Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell.

In November, the Royal Opera’s much-loved productions – Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Verdi’s Macbeth make a return to the big screen.  Manon Lescaut premiered in 1893 and was Puccini’s first major triumph, this production by Jonathan Kent from 2014 is conducted by Antonio Pappano and stars Jonas Kaufmann, Christopher Maltman and Kristine Opolais. Verdi’s Macbeth is inspired by Shakespeare’s tragedy and is conducted by Antonio Pappano. The magnificent cast includes Anna Netrebko, Željko Lučić and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo and was recorded in 2018.

The Royal Opera House global cinema season offers audiences the best seat in the house exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and close-ups of performers.

About the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House wants to give everyone access to exceptional ballet and opera. As The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, we bring together the world’s most extraordinary artists in more than 500 performances every year on our two stages.

Across the 2018/19 Season we welcomed more than one million people through our doors as ticketholders, participants in our programme of free and ticketed daytime events, and as visitors to our bars, cafes, restaurants and shop. A further one million people enjoyed our work in cinemas, at free screenings and through streamed and televised performances up and down the UK. Our ongoing partnership with the BBC saw 11 of our productions broadcast across their platforms last Season.

During the 2018/19 Season our three flagship ROH learning programmes – Create and Sing, Create and Dance and Design and Make – supported teachers from 1,394 schools, 81% of which were outside London, bringing arts to children and young people the length and breadth of the country.