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Watch: Members of the cast and creative team on Manon Lescaut

Another chance to see the backstage films screened as part of our live cinema relay.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

24 June 2014 at 9.19pm | 11 Comments

Jonathan Kent’s new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, starring Kristīne Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann, was relayed live to cinemas across the world on 24 June 2014.

The relay featured a series of backstage films, featuring interviews with members of the cast, conductor Antonio Pappano and director Jonathan Kent.

If you missed out on the night, or just want to find out more about the opera, here they are again:

Antonio Pappano, Kristīne Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann rehearse Manon Lescaut:

Leading soprano Kristīne Opolais and star tenor Jonas Kaufmann both make their role debuts in this production, conducted by Puccini expert Antonio Pappano. ‘[Tony] is singing with us, breathing with us, helping us and carrying us over the most difficult passages,’ says Jonas. ‘He is 100% charged with music - every drop of his blood is passion for music.’

Watch Kristīne and Jonas in rehearsals with Antonio, and find out the challenges behind the roles of Manon and Des Grieux.

Members of the cast and creative team discuss the character of Manon Lescaut (The Royal Opera)

Manon Lescaut, the innocent girl seduced by money and luxury, is a complex character. Although she is the tragic heroin of the opera, she isn’t entirely innocent and her character remains something of a conundrum. ‘[Manon] is willful, capricious, easily seduced by money and easily glamorized by a life of luxury, but at the same time, is a woman who goes to her death with the man she loves,’ says director Jonathan Kent.

Watch members of the cast and creative team, including Antonio Pappano, Kristīne Opolais (Manon Lescaut), Jonas Kaufmann (Des Grieux), Christopher Maltmann (Lescaut), Maurizio Muraro (Gerontes) Benjamin Hulett (Edmondo) and Jonathan Kent (director) discuss their interpretation of her character.

Antonio Pappano on the emotion in Puccini's Manon Lescaut (The Royal Opera)

Puccini’s sumptuous score for Manon Lescaut is richly varied, ranging from youthful ebullience to heartfelt sorrow. Watch Antonio play excerpts from the intermezzo, analysing how Puccini uses melody and orchestration to build up the sorrowful loneliness of Des Grieux.

Antonio Pappano on Des Grieux and Manon's first encounter in Manon Lescaut (The Royal Opera)

When Des Grieux first sees Manon, he is struck by her infinite beauty, crying: ‘My God how beautiful she is’. Elements of the melody in this scene become a theme that recurs throughout the opera. ‘Already, Puccini is using the trademark doubling of the melody sung by the soloists with the violins,’ says Antonio. ‘This is a feature of his work, imprinting the melody in the hearts and mind and ears of the public.’

Watch Antonio plays excerpts of the music from this first encounter, describing how the melody builds and then recurs throughout the opera.

Manon Lescaut runs from 22 November–12 December 2016. Tickets are still available. This is a co-production with Shanghai Grand Theatre.


This article has 11 comments

  1. Auriroy responded on 24 June 2014 at 11:02pm Reply

    Perfect, easy to understand and full of interesting information.
    It's a privilege to be able to assist to the most important opera theaters all round Europe, above all, when you are living in a very small country call Andorra.
    Thanks again for this wonderful gift!'

  2. maria grazia responded on 25 June 2014 at 10:08am Reply

    I appreciate the possibility of viewing this masterpiece more than I can say; this is a fine use of technology and I hope that many others productions will be broadcasted all over the world for all us to see.
    (Still not convinced by the garish setting but the singing and direction were faultless).

  3. Ellen Jones responded on 27 June 2014 at 9:11pm Reply

    I hope you will release this production of Manon Lescaut in DVD format for those of us unable to watch the performance live or broadcast. Thank you.

  4. Julie Bailey responded on 20 July 2014 at 1:11pm Reply

    Echoing Ellen (27 June) this was so good - I'm hungry for Opera but can no longer travel even to nearest large town, so rely on Dvd or the internet. Opera is many-dimensional so Cd & radio miss out too much. Antonio Pappano's intense feeling & understanding of the music add so much, a further dimension for us: I can't get enough of his teaching.

  5. I have seen these 4 illuminating clips several times since the streaming of Manon Lescaut in July. Sir Antonio is so inspiring in his analyses of Puccini's music. As JK pointed out in one clip, Maestro Pappano's head must be filled with music all the time -- 24-7.
    His words, gestures, facial expressions are permeated with music. These were valuable lessons in Opera. Thank you!

  6. Eleanore Hilferty responded on 20 August 2014 at 3:38pm Reply

    Please, please, please release this on Blu-Ray and DVD! There are no theaters in Vermont (where I live) that ran the broadcast. From the clips I have seen, I would like to watch this opera over and over again. Thank you!

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 20 August 2014 at 3:44pm

      Hi Eleanore,

      Although no release date is at present scheduled, do bookmark this section of the site and check back should any information be confirmed.


      ROH Content Producer

  7. Catherine Le Hingrat responded on 14 September 2014 at 5:35pm Reply

    Echoing previous requests, I do hope a Blu-ray/DVD will be released. It would be a great loss if there was no trace left of the whole work, as it was a stupendous production. Thank You

    • liz brereton responded on 5 October 2014 at 12:24am

      Hi Catherine

      I so agree with your comments. This production simply HAS to be produced on DVD for posterity. What can we do to promote this? I don't think I have ever seen an opera that moved me so much. Liz

  8. liz brereton responded on 5 October 2014 at 12:16am Reply

    Dear Chris Shipman
    Please, please tell me that the recent broadcast on Manon Lescaut from the ROH is to be issued on DVD. Such a performance simply cannot 'disappear' for ever. It was one of the most stunning productions I have ever seen. This is the Manon for all time. You have a potential best seller here....... Thanks Liz

  9. Jenny responded on 29 October 2014 at 5:10pm Reply

    I agree with the above comments. A DVD couldn't fail to be a best seller. Kaufmann, Opolais, Pappano and the orchestra were magnificent. I watched the production in the Opera House on the first night, and also saw the live cinema relay. In some ways the production came over even better on the screen because the closeups were so intimate and passionate, and the singers were not dwarfed by the enormous sets. If you want to encourage young people to come to the opera, a DVD of this production would convince them that opera can be really dramatic and moving, and not just something for old fuddy duddies!

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