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Kristine Opolais as Manon Lescaut and Jonas Kaufmann as Chevalier des Grieux in Manon Lescaut ©ROH/Bill Cooper, 2014

Manon Lescaut (2014)

3 November 202010 January 2021
The performance lasts approximately 2 hours 40 minutes (may include two intervals in some cinemas)
Opera and music

There may be an interval in this performance. Please check with your local cinema.

Puccini’s publisher tried to prevent him from adapting Abbé Prévost’s L’Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut – Massenet had already created a highly successful opera based on the novel. But Puccini was not to be dissuaded, claiming ‘a woman like Manon can have more than one lover’. Despite a troubled gestation (five librettists were engaged in the project), the premiere of Manon Lescaut in 1893 was Puccini’s first major triumph – a hit with both public and critics. Puccini’s sumptuous, richly-coloured score is characterized by youthful vitality and filled with glorious melodies, from Des Grieux and Manon’s passionate duet ‘Vedete? io son fedele’ to the overwhelming desolation of Manon’s final aria ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’.

Jonathan Kent – director of The Royal Opera’s Tosca – created this production of Manon Lescaut in 2014, The Royal Opera’s first production of the opera in 30 years. Kent finds contemporary resonance in the story of a woman tempted and misguided into acting against her best interests, and who finally receives retribution far more severe than her actions could ever deserve. Designs by Paul Brown create a harsh environment riven through with societal hypocrisy, in which Manon is trapped by those who will exploit her – and from which the only escape can be death.

This production has been classified 12 by the BBFC.

This performance is suitable for those 12 years and older.



When Manon meets the young student Des Grieux they fall in love. They elope – but when the elderly Geronte offers Manon a life of wealth and luxury, her head is turned.

Manon cannot forget Des Grieux. Des Grieux attempts to flee with her, but before they can escape, Geronte has Manon arrested. They escape, but, on the run again, Manon collapses from exhaustion. She dies in Des Grieux’s arms.


ConductorAntonio Pappano

Manon LescautKristine Opolais

LescautChristopher Maltman

Chevalier des GrieuxJonas Kaufmann

Geronte de RevoirMaurizio Muraro

EdmondoBenjamin Hulett

Dancing masterRobert Burt

SingerNadezhda Karyazina

LamplighterLuis Gomes

Naval CaptainJeremy White

Act III SergeantJihoon Kim

InnkeeperNigel Cliffe

ChorusRoyal Opera Chorus

OrchestraOrchestra of the Royal Opera House


MusicGiacomo Puccini

LibrettoLuigi Illica

DirectorJonathan Kent

DesignerPaul Brown

Lighting designerMark Henderson

Movement directorDenni Sayers


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