(E) I could not miss this Fall “Manon Lescaut” at the San Francisco Opera. So, I went to see it on November 16th. I was looking forward to listening to Lianna Haroutounian, who gave a splendid performance in Madame Butterfly in 2016. And yes indeed, Ms. Haroutounian gave another unforgettable performance, in particular in the second act. Her voice takes you away, and captive your full attention. When you are listening to Lianna Haroutounian, you cannot do anything else – just listening to her!
I was also looking forward to the music of Nicola Luisotti who returned, as a conductor, for the first time since 1998. Mr. Luisotti’s music is sometimes energetic and precise, sometimes passionate and sensitive. Mr. Luisiotti understands the opera. He plays for the Opera. And, he cares about the singers.
Lianna Haroutounian and Nicola Luisiotti are a unique combination that can only make a great evening!
Puccini’s Manon Lescaut is not as well known, and as often played as La Boheme or Madame Butterfly. The story is based on the 1731 French novel “L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut” by the Abbé Prévost.
In 18th century France, Manon fall in love with Le Chevalier des Grieux but her selfishness and careless frivolity will destroy her. She cannot appreciate a simple lifestyle. So she decided to give her life to a wealthy old man. Her attraction to luxury and wealth led her to be imprisoned and deported to New Orleans. Des Grieux, moved by his blind, passionate, and obsessive love for Manon, will try by every means to follow her and will be with her in Louisiana.
For your pleasure, a video featuring Lianna Haroutounian and Brian Jagde as Manon and Des Grieux:
Another one featuring Lianna Haroutounian and Anthony Clark Evans as Lescaut:
And, the last one featuring Lianna Haroutounian in Lousianna in the last act:
Nicola Luisotti discussing the music of Puccini:
- Manon Lescaut: Lianna Haroutounian
- Chevalier des Grieux: Brian Jagde
- Lescaut: Anthony Clark Evans
- Geronte: Philip Skinner
- Edmondo: Christopher Oglesby
- Singer: Ashley Dixon
- Dancing – Master/Lamplighter: Zhengyi Bai
- Conductor: Nicola Luisotti
- Director: Olivier Tambosi
- Production Designer: Frank Philipp Schlössmann
- Lighting Designer: Duane Schuler
- Fight Director: Dave Maier
- Choreographer: Lawrence Pech
- Chorus Director: Ian Robertson
Reference: Wikipedia: Manon Lescaut (Puccini)
Note: The picture above is the “Cartolina tratta dalla locandina stampata da Ricordi in occasione della prima assoluta di Manon Lescaut di Giacomo Puccini, il 1° febbraio 1893” from Wikipedia.
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