Music by Jules Massenet (see
section on music)
Choreography and direction by Kenneth
Staged by Monica Parker, Patricia
Ruanne, and Wendy Walker
Orchestrated and arranged by Leighton Lucas, with the collaboration
of Hilda Gaunt
Scenery and costumes by Nicholas
Lighting by Thomas Skelton
World Premiere: The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden,
Original Cast: Antoinette Sibley (Manon), Anthony Dowell (Des Grieux),
David Wall (Lescaut), Derek Rencher (Monsieur G.M.), Monica Mason (Lescaut's
Mistress), David Drew (The Jailer), Gerd Laresen (Madame)
ABT Premiere: Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 5/28/93
Cast: Alessandra Ferri (Manon), Julio Bocca (Des Grieux), Gil Boggs
(Lescaut), Kathleen Moore (Lescaut's Mistress), Michael Owen (Monsieur
G.M.), Victor Barbee (Jailer), Georgina Parkinson (Madame)
Act I. Scene I:
The courtyard of an inn near Paris - The courtyard at the inn is frequented
by actresses, gentlemen and the demi-monde from Paris. Among them are
Des Grieux, a young student, the wealthy Monsieur G.M. and Lescaut,
who is there to meet his sister Manon on her way to enter a convent.
A coach arrives bringing Manon and an Old Gentleman who has been very
much attracted by her. Lescaut notices this and takes the Old Gentleman
into the inn to come to an arrangement with him over Manon. Manon remains
outside and meets Des Grieux. They fall in love and decide to escape
to Paris with the help of the money that she has stolen from the Old
Gentleman. Lescaut and the Old Gentleman come out of the inn, having
made a bargain, and to their dismay see that Manon has disappeared.
Monsieur G.M. tells Lescaut the he too is interested in Manon and because
of G.M.'s wealth Lescaut promises to find Manon and persuade her to
Act I. Scene Il:
Des Grieux's lodgings in Paris - Des Grieux is writing a letter to his
father but Manon interrupts him by declaring her love for him. Des Grieux
goes to post the letter and in his absence Lescaut arrives with Monsieur
G.M. Manon yields to G.M.'s advances. When Des Grieux returns, Lescaut
persuades him that there will be great wealth for all of them if he,
Des Grieux, will sanction the liaison between Manon and G.M.
Act II. Scene I:
A Party at the hotel Particulier of Madame - Manon arrives at the party
given by Monsieur G.M. and is clearly torn between the wealth of her
companion and her love for Des Grieux, who is also there with Lescaut.
Des Grieux tries to persuade Manon to leave with him but she tells him
that the time is not right and only will be when he takes more of Monsieur
G.M.'s money at cards. Des Grieux is caught cheating and he and Manon
Act II. Scene II:
Des Grieux's lodgings - Manon and Des Grieux once again declare their
love for one another but Monsieur G.M. arrives with the police and Manon
is arrested as a prostitute. In the ensuing struggle Lescaut is killed.
Act III. Scene I:
The Port - The Jailer of the Penal Colony awaits the arrival of the
convicts from France. Manon has been deported to America as a prostitute
and Des Grieux has followed her there by pretending to be her husband.
The Jailer turns his interest towards Manon.
Act III. Scene II:
The Jailer's room - The Jailer has arrested Manon but offers her rewards
in the hope that she will desert Des Grieux and live with him. Des Grieux,
however, breaks in and kills the Jailer.
Act III. Scene III:
The Swamp - Manon and Des Grieux have escaped into the swamp of Louisiana.
All her former ambitions of wealth and splendor have been renounced
for her love of Des Grieux. While eluding their pursuers Manon collapses
and dies in his arms.
The music for Manon by Jules
Massenet, arranged by Leighton Lucas and Hilda Gaunt is taken from
the operas Le Cid, Griselda, Therese, Cinderella, Cleopatre, Don
Quixote, Eve, Thais, Bacchus, Ariane, and Le Roi de Lahore,
the orchestral works Scenes Alsaciennes, Scenes Pittoresques, Scenes
Dramatique, La Navarraise, Valse tres Lente, Chanson de Capri, and
Aubade de Cherubin.
The music for the Prelude to the ballet is from Le Dernier Sommeil
de la Vierge and the Cantata de la Vierge. The score for
Act I, Scene I is derived from Aubade de Cherubin, Scenes Dramatique,
Scenes Pittoresques, Le Cid, Crepuscule, Pastorale from L'Esclaramonde,
First Orchestral Suite, Scenes Dramatiques, Si tu le Veux, Mignonne
-- a song, Griselda, Thais, Ariane, Elegie, Menuet d'Amour from
Therese. Act I, Scene II: Cendrillon, Ouvre tes Yeux Bleus
-- a song, Cendrillon, and a salon piece.
Act II, Scene I: Scenes Dramatiques, Au Cabaret -- Scenes Alsaciennes,
Ariane, Bacchus, a salon piece, Don Quixote, Cleopatre, Le Roi
de Lahore, Crepuscule, Air de Ballet, La Navarraise, Elegie, Il Pluvait
-- a song, Griselda, Cleopatre. Scene II: Adam and Eve, Bacchus.
Act III, Scene I: Cendrillon, Griselda, Don Quixote, Cendrillon,
Don Quixote, Don Quixote, Crepuscule, Sappho and Adam and Eve.
Scene II: Symposium of hallucinations. Scene III: La Vierge, La Vierge.