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Watch: Members of the cast and creative team on Manon

Backstage films from the live relay of Manon, including Darcey Bussell and Deborah MacMillan on the choreographer's creative process and Royal Ballet dancers introducing the story and characters of the ballet.

By Hayley Bartley (Former Content Producer (Learning))

16 October 2014 at 10.26pm | 4 Comments

Kenneth MacMillan’s Royal Ballet production of Manon was relayed live to cinemas around the world on 16 October 2014.

The relay, presented by Darcey Bussell, featured a series of backstage films, including rehearsal footage and interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

If you missed the screening on the night, or just want to find out more about the ballet, here are the films again:

Members of the cast and creative team on the choreography and characters in Manon

‘There is a lot of slow movement but there is a lot of meaning in it,’ says Ricardo Cervera who plays Lescaut in the ballet. ‘You’re watching real art in motion, it’s not just choreography put to music, or music over choreography. It’s just completely married and very emotional to watch, as well as to perform.’

Watch performers Marianela Nuñez, Federico Bonelli, Ricardo Cervera, and Christopher Saunders, with Julie Lincoln – stager of MacMillan ballets – introduce Manon.

Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli introduce Act Three of Manon

‘Manon is lucky that she has got this incredible man next to her, who is until the end trying to make her understand what life is about. He’s forgiving and he’s trying to keep her alive,’ says Marianela.

‘It’s not acting anymore, it’s quite real. It’s the desperation of Des Grieux who is still hoping that they will find a way through and they can live happily together,’ says Federico.

Watch Royal Ballet Principals Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli rehearse the final act of Manon and talk about the journey of their characters through the ballet.

Darcey Bussell and Deborah MacMillan discuss Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon

‘The structure of the three acts is like a 19th-century ballet but it breaks new ground,’ says Deborah MacMillan - the choreographer's wife - of the premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon in 1974. ‘He was dealing with flawed characters, human characters, not fairy tale characters. And that was tough at that time because ballet was still stuck in a classicism that wasn’t prepared to move forward.’

Watch former Royal Ballet Principal Darcey Bussell and Deborah MacMillan discuss the choregrapher’s career, creative process and ballet masterpiece Manon.

The Royal Opera House Cinema Season broadcasts performances to 1,300 cinemas in 30 countries around the world. The next live relay of 2014/15 will be The Royal Opera's I due Foscari on 27 October. Sign up to our cinema mailing list here.


This article has 4 comments

  1. Sally Pearson responded on 16 October 2014 at 11:32pm Reply

    Watched tonight's wonderful performance in a cinema in Western France. Brilliant performances from all the cast, fabulous costumes and decor. I especially loved the choreography in the final act. An unforgettable evening - thank you so much to all cast and crew!

  2. A M Baker responded on 20 October 2014 at 10:27pm Reply

    Glad to have the 2 items, but do wish that the rehearsal/interviews with Lescaut and GM had also been made available. Any chance?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 23 October 2014 at 10:11am

      Sorry for the delay - all three films are now up there.

      Best wishes


  3. Jan Green responded on 21 October 2014 at 2:20pm Reply

    I watched Manon on Thursday in Plymouth and then on Sunday, as I absolutely adored it and wanted to visit the magic again. Marionela and Federico were exquisite and heart-breaking and unforgettable. Thank you, ROH and Royal Ballet for letting we who live in far-away Cornwall share in something so wonderful!

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