Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Manon, ROH, London 25. June 2010

Opéra comique in five acts
Music by Jules Massenet
Libretto by Henri Milhac and Philippe Gille
After the novel L'Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by
Abbé Antoine-François Prévost

Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London
Friday 25. June 2010 6:30 PM

Director: Laurent Pelly
Designer: Chantal Thomas
Lighting Designer: Joël Adam
Choreographer: Lionel Hoche

Manon: Anna Netrebko
Chevalier des Grieux: Vittorio Grigolo
Lescaut: Russell Braun
Comte des Grieux: Christof Fischesser
Guillot de Morfontaine: Christophe Mortagne
Brétigny: William Shimell
Poussette: Simona Mihai
Javotte: Louise Innes
Rosette: Kai Rüütel
Innkeeper: Lynton Black

Conductor: Antonio Pappano
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House


Radio Broadcasts
BBC Radio 3 will broadcast one of the current performances of Manon on 10. July 2010 at 6:00 PM local time, 7:00 PM CET.

Herbert attended the performance and he kindly wrote the following report for the blog,

"Powerful and passionate – this is how I would describe that magic evening with Massenet’s MANON at the Royal Opera House.

It was one of the most powerful and passionate MANONs I have ever seen, thanks to the lively and elaborate choreography on stage (only the production at the Gran Teatre de Liceu in Barcelona was better); thanks to Antonio Pappano, his orchestra and the chorus; and above all thanks to Anna Netrebko in the title role, and Vittorio Grigolo as the best Des Grieux I can think of. An extra bravo also to Christophe Mortagne, because he makes so much more of the usually trite role of Guillot de Morfontaine.

If there is any weak point to be found it may be the scenery. The casino in act IV with its dark, undecorated walls looks more like a fallout shelter in the fifth basement. And there are quite a number of time-consuming scenery changes (which offer the opportunity to admire the heavy red velvet curtain with its golden embroidery ;-)). All different settings – simple as they may be – have something in common: Lots of stairs and mostly three diagonal levels to run up and down.

The costumes are masterpieces – especially those of Anna Netrebko, of course. Starting with the outfit of a 16-year-old-girl on her way to a convent, then a simple short white nightie in act II, followed by a lavish white dress in the Cours-la-Reine scene in act III. A real eye candy is the long, tight pink dress in the casino, which looks very much like the dress she wore at her performance during the Wiener Opernball in 2007. And finally – as a hard contrast – the grey rags and coat in the last act, where the soldiers, quite drastically, spit on her before they leave her lying in the gutter.

But forget all this fuss! It is Anna Netrebko and a sensational Vittorio Grigolo who set the stage „on fire“ by their powerful and passionate voices and acting. It looks as if – finally! – a new and adequate stage partner for Anna Netrebko has been found who makes the stage sparkle with vibrations from the first moment when he rushes onto the setting almost head over heels. There is an instant chemistry between him and her. Yes, maybe he is sometimes so much overcome by his emotions that some notes „get out of place“, and sometimes his voice sounds like a roar of thunder, that even some glasses high up in the Amphitheatre might crack – but the overall impression of this young tenor is just extraordinary.

I for myself usually do not respond too emotionally to the performances of male singers ;-)), but Grigolo sometimes gave me the same goose pimples as Anna Netrebko did again and again last night. Although I must say, yesterday I had the impression that her stage partner made her excel herself.

My favourite scenes between them both were – little wonder – the „seduction“ in Saint-Sulpice and the final scene when Manon is dying. There was fire in the air when Manon, in a simple, but elegant, strapless white dress, and the new “Abbé des Grieux” clash in Saint-Sulpice. Full of anger he rebuffs her and turns his back towards her. But then she falls on her knees and with her arms widespread leans towards him and she begs him to forgive her and reminds him of their past love. She almost crawls to him, touches his finger tips gently, which scares him – but finally he just has to “surrender”, and at that moment she clutches his breast from behind.

Similarly moving is the death scene at the end, and I will never forget Des Grieux’s piercing shriek when he realizes that she is dead and then collapses over her dead body.

Vittorio Grigolo got the loudest final applause, whereas Anna Netrebko got the longest. Grigolo was so overwhelmed when he actually ran onto the stage and knelt down in front of the audience to receive his well deserved ovations.

When Anna Netrebko came out of the stage door after the show she was in high spirits and full of willingness to share some time with her fans waiting for her. She had obviously enjoyed that outstanding performance as much as the audience did."

Vittorio Grigolo at the final curtain calls. Manon, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London 25. June 2010. Photo: Herbert

Anna Netrebko at the final curtain calls. Manon, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London 25. June 2010. Photo: Herbert

Vittorio Grigolo at the ROH stage door. Manon, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London 25. June 2010. Photo: Herbert

Anna Netrebko at the ROH stage door. Manon, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London 25. June 2010. Photo: Herbert

Anna Netrebko at the ROH stage door. Manon, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London 25. June 2010. Photo: Herbert

1 comment:

  1. An outstanding review for an outstanding performance. Thanks Herbert!



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