Boulevard Solitude | Welsh National Opera

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SummaryBack to top

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Production

Sex, Drugs and Opera

'Boulevard Solitude is better than perfect' - ***** The Times | Read more

'A deserved triumph for WNO' - ***** The Financial Times | Read more

- See more at:

'Boulevard Solitude is better than perfect' - ***** The Times | Read more

'A deserved triumph for WNO' - ***** The Financial Times | Read more

- See more at:'Boulevard Solitude is better than perfect' - ***** The Times | 'A deserved triumph for WNO' - ***** The Financial Times

Manon and Armand are in love. But can their love survive when a world of sex, drugs and crime intrudes on their happiness?

Henze’s powerful, intoxicating opera is a compelling vision of post-war Europe. Combining jazz, 19th century opera and 20th century styles - this is opera but not as you know it.

Award winning Theatre, Opera and Film Director Mariusz Trelinski sets his production against a gritty, cinematic backdrop of an underground station where temptation and lust lurk around every corner.

Boulevard Solitude is performed by a world-class cast alongside the WNO Chorus and Orchestra. Join us for an evening at the theatre which promises to overwhelm the senses.

Please note that there are flashing images on digital screens throughout this production. There are no strobe effect.

Read Germaine Greer's introduction to our Fallen Women season.

Cast & CreativeBack to top

Conductor Lothar Koenigs
Director Mariusz Trelinski
Set Designer Boris Kudlicka
Costume Designer Marek Adamski
Lighting Designer Felice Ross
Video Projection Designer Bartek Macias
Choreographer Tomasz Wygoda
Lighting Co-Designer Sofia Alexiadou
Lighting realised on tour by Paul Woodfield
Chorus Master Stephen Harris
Assistant Conductor Timothy Burke
Musical Preparation Stephen Wood
Assistant Director Hanna Marasz
Genesis Assistant Director Polly Graham
Stage Manager Julian Johnson
Production Manager Richard Norton

Cast includes
Armand des Grieux
Jason Bridges
Manon Lescaut Sarah Tynan
Lescaut Benjamin Bevan
Lilaque Pere Adrian Thompson
Francis Alastair Moore
Young Lilaque Laurence Cole
Mr Man Tomasz Wygoda
Actors Justyna Białowas, Katarzyna Hołtra, Joanna Jeffries, Gordon Brandie, Michał Ciecka, Nicholas Keegan, Ashley James Orwin

StoryBack to top

Scene One
Armand des Grieux and his friend Francis are at a train station. Manon is being taken to a finishing school by her brother, Lescaut. She and Armand strike up a conversation and are immediately attracted to one another. Manon decides to go away with Armand. Lescaut watches them leave.

Scene Two
Armand and Manon are happy together but have no money. Lescaut tries to persuade Manon to take a rich lover – he has someone in mind who would support her and be a source of income for himself as well. He tells her that she must be hard-hearted to succeed in life and that she must choose between comfort and poverty.

Scene Three
Manon is now the spoilt mistress of Monsieur Lilaque. She writes to Armand, telling him that she misses him. Lescaut is furious that she is thinking of her old lover rather than her current protector. Lescaut’s various deals are not going well and he attempts to steal some money. He is discovered by Lilaque, who throws them both out.

Scene Four
Armand, Francis and other students are studying erotic Latin poetry by Catullus. Armand is distracted and unable to forget Manon. He refuses to believe that she can be guilty when Francis tells him of the theft of the money. Manon and Armand are temporarily reunited.

Scene Five
Manon has left Armand again and he is taking drugs to help him forget her. Lescaut is looking for his sister – he has a new client for her, Lilaque’s son. Manon arrives and attempts to calm the frantic Armand but fails. She leaves with young Lilaque but sends a message, asking Armand to meet her later.

Scene Six
Manon and Armand are together in young Lilaque’s apartment. Lescaut comes to warn Armand to get out before he is discovered. There is a painting on the wall which Lescaut decides to steal but he is interrupted by the arrival of Monsieur Lilaque. Manon tries to distract him but he finds Armand and Lescaut in their hiding place and calls the police. Lescaut pushes a gun into Manon’s hand and she fires. Young Lilaque returns to find Manon with the gun and the dead body of his father.

Scene Seven
Manon is being taken to prison. Armand hopes to catch a final glimpse of her but she is taken away before they have a chance to speak. 

AudioBack to top