Manon Lescaut | Welsh National Opera

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SummaryBack to top

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - Friday, August 1, 2014

New Production

Manon has been seduced. As an impressionable young woman she wanted it all. She wanted to taste the tempting fruit of adult life. Now just months later she has discovered that the fruit is rotten at the core. Does Manon have any chance of salvation? 

Manon Lescaut is the classic Fallen Woman. Puccini charts her rapid descent from innocent to criminal with feverish intensity. If you enjoy La bohème, Madam Butterfly and Tosca you will want to explore Puccini’s breakthrough hit and first great opera.

By setting this production in the contemporary world we all recognise, Marius Trelinski's production brings this breathless tale of obsession and self-destruction urgently to life.

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

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 Magdalena Musial
Lighting Designer Felice Ross
Choreographer Tomasz Wygoda
Video Projections Bartek Macias
Assistant Lighting Designer Sofia Alexiadou
Lighting realised on tour by Ian Jones
Chorus Master Stephen Harris
Assistant Conductor Andrew Greenwood
Musical Preparation James Southall
Assistant Director Hanna Marasz
Staff Director Caroline Chaney
Language Coaches Muriel Corradini, Isabella Radcliffe
Stage Manager Katie Heath-Jones
Production Manager Richard Norton

Cast includes

Simon Crosby Buttle
Chevalier des Grieux Gwyn Hughes Jones
Lescaut David Kempster
Geronte di Ravoir/Naval Captain Stephen Richardson
Manon Lescaut Chiara Taigi
Innkeeper Laurence Cole 
Singer Monika Sawa
Dancing Master/Lamplighter Huw Llywelyn
Mr Eye Tomasz Wygoda
Sergeant Martin Lloyd
Actors Justyna Białowas, Katarzyna Hołtra, Joanna Jeffries

StoryBack to top

Act One | Matrix
Evening in a big city, the end of a working day. Des Grieux is caught in a matrix of daily routine and longs for love as a means of escape. A woman emerges from the crowd. Manon is accompanied by her brother, Lescaut, and an older man, the ruthless and powerful Geronte. Des Grieux is infatuated. Lescaut sees his sister as a bargaining card, a means of obtaining money. He arranges to make her available to Geronte. Des Grieux and Manon decide to escape together, to Geronte’s fury. Lescaut assures him that she will be easy to find – she cannot live far from luxury.

Act Two | Power
Manon has chosen an extravagant public life with Geronte. She misses Des Grieux, who is trying to find enough money to win her back. At a party in her honour, surrounded by lustful admirers, Manon is bored. When Des Grieux appears, she manages to placate his anger and he is unable to resist. Geronte comes across them both and Manon mocks him. Des Grieux begs her to come away with him again but she hesitates, unwilling to leave all that luxury behind. Lescaut warns them to hurry but it is too late. Geronte accuses Manon of stealing and she is arrested.


Act Three | Downfall
Manon is imprisoned and Des Grieux attempts to visit her but is frustrated, despite Lescaut’s efforts. Along with other degraded and humiliated women, Manon is to be deported.

Act Four | Between worlds
Somewhere between sleep and death, delusion and reality, the dream of Manon falls apart. Des Grieux prays for help from a God from whom he turned away as a boy but Manon, insatiably desiring and desired, is lost to him.

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