|MANON LESCAUTGiacomo Puccini (1858-1924)Carlo Rizzi & Mariusz Trelinski
In 1893, at the premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut in Turin, the audience gave it thirty standing ovations. This spectacular success continued unabated as the years passed by, despite the competition of Massenet’s Manon. Its long awaited return to the Brussels stage, where the work hasn’t been performed for 37 years, has been entrusted by La Monnaie to an exceptional pair, the conductor Carlo Rizzi along with a newcomer, the Polish director Mariusz Trelinski, as well as a very impressive cast.
After Lulu and La Traviata, Manon Lescaut offers us a lucid analysis of what haunts human desires, the contradictions that they harbour and the price one must pay to satisfy them.
The plot of this lyrical drama in four acts is masterfully conducted by Puccini, who displays the scope of his theatrical talents. The characters are apprehended in a sequel of snapshots that follow one another almost independently from each other, and paint remarkably accurate psychological portraits. The music, very sensual, uncovers his mastery of the orchestration as well as his skilful treatment of choirs and ensembles. For Puccini, the orchestra plays as an even important role as the singers. The third act, probably the most accomplished, shows the whole scope of his innovative musical style and his exceptional power of imagination.
The Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi offered us a passionate and inspiring interpretation of La Bohème in 2010, then of Richard Strauss’ Salome in January 2012. We will now meet him again conducting the La MonnaieSymphonic Orchestra and choirs in this Italian lyrical repertoire, in which he is a true master. Thechoirmaster Martino Faggiani assists him. This will be the first production at La Monnaie of the PoleMariusz Treliński, the artistic director of the Warsaw National Opera. Trelinski is also dedicated to cinema and theatre. His productions, highly symbolic and suffused with cinematographic culture, stress the psychological forces and motivations of the heroes.
La Monnaie chose two performers for each of the three title roles: Eva Maria Westbroek and AmandaEchalaz° will incarnate Manon Lescaut, Brandon Jovanovich and Hector Sandoval° – Chevalier desGrieux, Aris Argiris and Lionel Lhote# – Lescaut.
The Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek will make her début in the role of Manon. At La Monnaie, she started in 2008 with the role of Donna Leonora di Vargas for La forza del destino (Verdi), followed byChrysothémis in Elektra (Strauss) two years later. The South African soprano Amanda Echalaz° will perform Manon in alternance with Eva-Maria Westbroek. She has made her début at La Monnaie in the title role of Salome.
The American tenor Brandon Jovanovich and the Mexican Hector Sandoval° will make their début at LaMonnaie with the role of Chevalier des Grieux. It is also a role début for the young Sandoval.
The Greek bariton Aris Argiris made his début recently at La Monnaie in the role of Marcello (La Bohème, Puccini). Belgian Lionel Lhote is well-known at La Monnaie where he already sang Dandini (La Cenerentola, Rossini), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti), Sancho Pança (Don Quichotte, Massenet), Pandolfe(Cendrillon, Massenet). He is now at La Monnaie to sing Die Fledermaus. Both will perform Lescaut.
We meet again the Italian bass Giovanni Furlanetto in the role of Geronte de Ravoir. Edmondo will be performed by the French tenor Julien Dran who makes his debut at La Monnaie. The Ukrainian tenor Alexander Kravets will sing Il Maestro di Ballo and Un Lampionaio. The French soprano AudreyKessedjian, who made her début at La Monnaie in Massenet’s Cendrillon in December 2011, plays Un musico. The French baritone-bass Guillaume Antoine sings the two roles of L’oste and Un Sergente. Soloists of theChapelle musicale Reine Elisabeth, Amalia Avilan (soprano 2) Anne-Fleur Inizan (Alti 1), Camille Merckx(Alti 2) and Julie Mossay (soprano 1) will interpret the stage madrigal. The character of Mr Eye will be interpreted by Tomasz Wygoda who is also the choreographer.
Boris Kudlicka is the set designer and Magdalena Musial the costume designer; Felice Rossis is responsible for the lighting; Krystian Lada is in charge of the dramaturgy and Bartek Macias in charge of the video.