Manon – Royal Ballet

ManonWe will be showing Manon live from the Royal Opera House, London on Thursday 16th October 2014. 

Manon’s brother Lescaut is offering her to the highest bidder when she meets Des Grieux and falls in love. They elope to Paris, but when Monsieur G.M. offers Manon a life of luxury as his mistress she cannot resist.

Kenneth MacMillan began work on Manon shortly after the birth of his only daughter. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted twice for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Renowned dance musician Leighton Lucas and his assistant Hilda Gaunt provided a score made from a patchwork of works by Massenet, including his famous yearning Elégie as the theme for the lovers. The premiere was given on 7 March 1974, the lead roles of Manon and Des Grieux danced by Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. The ballet quickly became a staple of The Royal Ballet’s repertory.

MacMillan found new sympathy with the capricious Manon, bringing his customary psychological insight and the memories of his own impoverished upbringing. He described his heroine as ‘not so much afraid of being poor as ashamed of being poor’. Designs by MacMillan’s friend Nicholas Georgiadis reflect this, depicting a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable poverty. MacMillan’s spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole Company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux’s impassioned pas de deux – recalling the intensity of MacMillan’s earlier work, Romeo and Juliet – that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan’s most heartbreaking dramas.

Principal Guest Artist Carlos Acosta will make his debut as Manon’s scheming brother Lescaut in addition to his performances as Des Grieux partnering Natalia Osipova as Manon. First Soloists Alexander CampbellBennet Gartside and Valentino Zucchetti will also make their debuts as Lescaut during the run of performances.

First Soloist Yuhui Choe will make her debut as Lescaut’s Mistress and Soloist Thomas Whitehead will make his debut as Monsieur G.M..

The debuts of Natalia Osipova, Melissa Hamilton and Francesca Hayward in the title role have already been announced. As have those of Vadim Muntagirov and Matthew Golding as Des Grieux.

Please arrive by 6.45pm to register and to order interval drinks if you wish.

The George Hotel serves meals – please contact them directly on 01298 871382 if you would like to book a pre-show meal.