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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of Manon 2018?

Your Reaction: What did you think of Manon 2018?

Audiences responses to The Royal Ballet's production of Kenneth MacMillan's passionate drama.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

4 April 2018 at 11.58am | 29 Comments

Press reviews:
Evening Standard ★★★★★
Telegraph ★★★★
Times (£) ★★★★
The Stage ★★★★
Independent ★★★★ 
Arts Desk★★★★

What did you think of Manon?
Add your thoughts in the comments below.

Manon runs until 16 May 2018. Tickets are still available. 

Manon will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 3 May 2018.


The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Sarah and Lloyd Dorfman, John and Susan Burns, The Gerald Ronson Family Foundation, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson and the Friends of Covent Garden. Original Production (1974) made possible by The Linbury Trust.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

4 April 2018 at 11.58am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged by Kenneth Macmillan, Manon, Production, review, your reaction

This article has 29 comments

  1. Richard responded on 5 April 2018 at 8:28am Reply

    So priveleged to see the first night - the cast were fantastic, and the sets, and music lovely.
    Super, classic, moving soloing from Bonelli; Campbell a revelation in his dancing power, and comic timing in the drunken scenes - with a sassy Calvert, providing a great "when pas de deux go wrong".
    As for Hayward, her wonderful, flowing, light dancing, and moving acting, gets the credit it deserves in all the reviews referred to above.
    Lots to come with all the other casts as well !

  2. Alex responded on 6 April 2018 at 12:53am Reply

    We attended tonight's performance with Osipova/Shklyarov/Naghdi/Sambe. Really not convinced the Osipova/Shklyarov partnership worked , it took well into Act 2 if not Act 3 before something of any value came out. On the other hand we were very impressed by Yasmine Naghdi's beautifully danced and exquisite,detailed portrayal of the Mistress. The best Mistress we have seen for years, and partnered by the amazing Sambe, these two dancers made attending Manon for us tonight worthwhile! Honestly can't wait to see Naghdi as Manon.

  3. Carmen responded on 6 April 2018 at 11:00am Reply

    I second Alex's comment about Osipova/Shklyarov partnership.I feel like there was a lot more posing than declaration of love on the pas de deux scenes.

  4. Stephen Jay-Taylor responded on 6 April 2018 at 12:43pm Reply

    I agree broadly with this, though I do think there's always value even in watching somebody - Shklyarov, in this case - taking their first tentative steps in what is for them a foreign choreographic language (he's never danced any MacMillan before last night, believe it or not). And then visibly getting more and more into it as the evening progressed.

    What struck me most however was all the changes, which have gone critically unremarked of course. Since when did a tumbril of tarts trundle across the stage early in Act I? And why have we lost Lescaut and Madame's drunken bumping of uglies in Act II? And surely Martin Yates has been busy with the score's, er, scoring yet again?

  5. Daphne Vakacegu responded on 6 April 2018 at 2:02pm Reply

    Ahhhh - how I would love to see it! Hopefully it will come to a thater in Korea eventually!

  6. marilyn weston responded on 6 April 2018 at 2:07pm Reply

    ospisova and shklyarov beautiful in manon hope he is invited back to dance with her,still no one can dance like david wall and monica mason in the roles created for them....lovely evening well done the russians

  7. ML responded on 6 April 2018 at 3:59pm Reply

    A fantastic show with Natalia Osipova (Manon), Vladimir Shklyarov (début as des Grieux, stepping in for an injured David Hallberg), Marcelino Sambé (Lescaut), Yasmine Naghdi (Lescaut's mistress), Gary Avis (Monsieur GM), Bennet Garside (Gaoler) on 5 April.

    Having seen various casts over the years, I really enjoyed this performance immensely. I thought the leads were excellent considering the short time available to rehearse- I liked Osipova showing more of the ambivalence and shock of Manon discovering the sordid price to pay for her riches, whereas some ballerinas have interpreted Manon as being very quick to switch from innocent girl in love to heartless gold-digger. Shklyarov can do the ardent boyish lover really well and is an excellent partner, and very moving at the end. It was lovely to see Sambé back from injury as the complicated, funny and sometimes unkind Lescaut, complete with fast turns and jumps. Naghdi was a delightful revelation as Lescaut's mistress- she imbued the steps with fine details, had complete technical mastery, and she lived the part 100% even when the spotlight wasn't on her. Melissa Hamilton and Claire Calvert were also charismatic and funny as the two courtesans, and Luca Acri was a cheeky beggar chief, light on his feet (and with his fingers when pickpocketing the watch) and airy in his jumps.

    I noticed the new score arrangements by Martin Yates (a fine job conducting too) including a musical interlude between the first two scenes in Act 3- they sounded great. Wonderful playing by the orchestra. Thank you to the entire cast, musicians and crew for a fab evening!

  8. francois responded on 7 April 2018 at 3:21pm Reply

    Wonderful performance last Thursday with Osipova, Shklyarov, Sambé and Naghdi. Osipova and Shklyarov conducted a very original interpretation of Manon and Des Grieux, full of clever details, renewing with a lot of freshness the traditional approach of the story of Manon.
    I was very happy to see Marcelino Sambé in such a good shape, with brilliant technique and excellent acting. Same compliments for Ms Naghdi.
    It was globally a fascinating performance, of which I still remember with some nostalgia two days after!
    Please continue to invite Mr Shklyarov as a Guest Principal every season, he fits outstandingly in the Royal Ballet's DNA and matches perfectly with Ms Osipova's artistic personality.

  9. Judith Berry responded on 8 April 2018 at 11:46am Reply

    Beautifully put, ML!. A wonderful experience!

  10. Russell Stanley responded on 9 April 2018 at 5:19pm Reply

    Osipova was naturally mesmerising and light as a feather. Shklyarov lacked the intense chemistry we used to get from Mukhamedov, but the poor guy only came over 2 weeks ago to rehearse with her so you can't blame him. Sambe and Naghdi look very promising so all in all a lovely performance of one of the truly great ballets.

  11. Liling Zhang responded on 9 April 2018 at 6:08pm Reply

    I've involved and loved deeply in this story of Ballet after enjoied many times the Blu-ray and DVD of Manon. In fact, I've bought 3 tickets for this ballet from 5 to 13 on April 2018. I love Natalia Osipova (Manon) too much.

  12. Jane Sprague responded on 12 April 2018 at 12:03am Reply

    Travelling home on a high. Marianela Nuñez and Roberto Bolle dancing together were a joy to watch tonight. Kept me enthralled, so beautiful and emotional in their performances with flawless timing in their pas de deux. Marcelino Sambé was superb in his character and in his dancing. A lovely, lovely evening.

  13. SKT responded on 12 April 2018 at 9:42am Reply

    Nūnez and Bolle were stunning! Intensely beautiful.

  14. Cathy Whitney responded on 12 April 2018 at 5:05pm Reply

    Spectacular performance as always from Nunez. So lucky to see her as Manon again. Bolle fantastic but not quite the relationship as in Nunez with Bonelli in this ballet. Whole production flawless and mesmerizing. Thank you

  15. Cathy Whitney responded on 12 April 2018 at 6:26pm Reply

    When can we have a Blu Ray and a more recent recording of this most fantastic ballet that you produce ? - as a help to our loss between seasons !

  16. Sharon Podesva responded on 12 April 2018 at 11:59pm Reply

    Nūnez and Bolle, best Manon I have ever seen.
    Over the tecnique in that point where is the art: Marianela and Roberto are there.

  17. Paola responded on 16 April 2018 at 7:12am Reply

    Roberto and Marianela...a cloud of love! Wonderful!

  18. Becca responded on 16 April 2018 at 5:59pm Reply

    Nunez and Bolle were beyond anything I have ever seen. The passion was unparalleled; I was absolutely stunned! They are the best dancers of their age. I am going to do everything I can now to see Marianela dance this role or another again!

  19. Blueraspberry responded on 17 April 2018 at 12:34am Reply

    Roberto Bolle...simply the best and with Marienela ..simply the best partnership. We have the beginnings of one of those 'defy the years' partnerships that the RB is renowned for.

  20. Julie responded on 20 April 2018 at 12:05pm Reply

    Saw Hayward/Bonnelli/Campbell last night- what a fantastic cast! Also thrilled to see those cast as courtesans and gentlemen, some of my favourite performers.
    I have never seen Alexander’ Mr nice guy’ Campbell play such a devious, scheming role, he was marvellous! Loved his drunken pdd with Clare Calvert.
    Hayward was the perfect Manon, innocent and naive at first, then almost regal as GM’s mistress and then her portrayal as she is dying was so dramatically on point.
    Would love to see this cast on DVD please!

  21. Ruth responded on 20 April 2018 at 12:28pm Reply

    The first ballet I ever saw was Manon and it hurtled me off into a world that I had thought little about as from non-traditionally ballet background but all that was just leading up to the performance of Bolle and Nunez on Monday night. It was magnificent and immense, so much so, that my mind, even days later, will not let me forget it. They just inhabited those roles so that you need an understanding of ballet to realise the level of supreme artistry it takes to be that magnificent, I suspect that in 20 years, I will still remember this performance. We have been privileged to have Roberto Bolle at the Royal Opera House on a few occasions over the last few years and heartily thank Mr O'Hare for that but echoing the audience on Monday night, more, more.

  22. Maggie B responded on 21 April 2018 at 8:52am Reply

    Fantastic performance from Melissa Hamilton as Manon, mesmerising performance, emotionally charged finale. Wanted to watch it all over again. Just wonderful!!!

  23. Nona Moiseenko responded on 25 April 2018 at 12:52am Reply

    I didn't know anything about Manon,I read the synopsis before the show...I was amazed at the music,costumes and performance of the ballet dancers.....
    ...incredible choreography,professional performance,unforgettable afternoon...!!!

  24. Richard responded on 29 April 2018 at 9:57am Reply

    Thanks Royal Ballet for a wonderful evening.

    I hadn’t seen Akane Takada in a lead role before. I knew she was a beautiful dancer, and she certainly showed that with her superb display of technique, musical interpretation and timing. What I didn’t quite expect was how accomplished she was as a character actor. Her various looks and movements combined to pinpoint, time and again, Manon’s heady, contradictory and complex mixture of innocence, sexuality, passion, vanity, vulnerability, love, cunning, greed, regret and sorrow.

    Her bedroom pas de deux with Campbell was so romantic and intense I wondered how she could possibly go off with another man a short time later. But seeing her entrance in Act 2 as the beautifully adorned mistress of a grand and wealthy Monsieur, when all eyes in the room became fixated on her, it somehow seemed to be understandable. She was constantly torn between romance and pleasure, and you could see which influence was pulling her at any moment.

    In the novel, Manon suggests to Des Grieux (after she had proposed he took another lover himself, as a substitute for her absence with Monsieur) that, in effect, she thinks it possible to square the circle by compartmentalising where one gives one’s body, and where one gives one’s heart.

    Alexander Campbell as Des Grieux brought the similar ferocious dynamic, speed and power to his dancing as he had to his Lescaut, but this time all concentrated on his infatuation with Manon as a lover, rather than as a sister to be exploited. His control and artistry in the early solo, where he expresses his feelings for Manon, was exemplary. He really threw himself into this role (literally at times) and made the partnership work brilliantly. At the end, his repeated gestures imploring the failing Manon to try to escape the swamp with him, to try to become again what she once was, were heartbreaking.

    Plaudits also for the amazingly sprightly James Hay, along with Yuhui Choe as his elegantly mischievous mistress. And I thought Thomas Whitehead was a very impressive Monsieur (I loved his outfits).

    The whole cast, and the orchestra, were again on top form as the beautiful music, scenery, costumes, and dancing combined to present a wickedly decadent, yet very poignant, demonstration of ballet at its finest level.

  25. EB responded on 2 May 2018 at 1:46pm Reply

    Having seen Nunez/Bolle and Hayward/Bonelli, both excellent pairings, I have to admit a preference for the freshness of the latter's portrayal, particularly Hayward, whose quick, fluid, beautifully embellished movement perfectly suited MacMillan's choreography. I was also captivated by the nuance in her acting, something I was missing slightly from Nunez/Bolle, who were otherwise brilliant. Hayward moved me to tears as early as the first pas de deux, and I will cherish her performance for a long time. Highly accomplished supporting cast throughout, notably both Campbell and Sambé as Lescaut.

  26. Annabel Charles responded on 3 May 2018 at 11:14pm Reply

    Just seen the live screening of Manon with Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov - absolutely stunning and totally heart breaking. I was in tears by the end. I have never seen Sarah Lamb dance a character role like this before. Thought she was amazing in Jewels and Elite Syncopations - with incredible technique and control and legs that can do anything. But this was a revelation - she caught the shifts in Manon's character so brilliantly - and the pas de deux with Vadim were breathtaking. He is made for the role of romantic poet - and it was a sublime pairing. They got lots of curtain calls - and so they should! A shout out too for Ryoichi Hirano who was very good as Lescaut. Wonderful evening - think it might have been my favourite of all the live screenings this year .... though still got Swan Lake to come. Thank you to everyone involved.

  27. Diana Manock responded on 4 May 2018 at 12:03am Reply

    Home now, emotionally drained from watching cine-screening of Manon in Bolton. Sarah and Vadim are joined at the hip, they are as one, absolutelh superb performance from the whole cast, but particularly Ryoichi as Lescaut, just brilliant. The orchestral music was perfect, thank you to everyone for a wonderful evening at the ballet. LOVE Darcey and Ore and all their guests, plus video items.

  28. Hellema responded on 9 May 2018 at 7:53am Reply

    It was amazing! I had my jaw dropped all along! Fabulous costumes, fantastic music all in all this was one of the best performance of my life!

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