Puccini's Manon Lescaut

Ansgar Weigner (stage director), Frank Beermann (music director) – Die Theater Chemnitz

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Ansgar Weigner — Stage director

Dietrich Hilsdorf — Co-stage director

Dieter Richter — Set designer

Renate Schmitzer — Costumes

Carla Neppl — Dramaturgy

Holger Reinke — Lighting

Astrid Weber — Manon Lescaut

Heiko Trinsinger — Lescaut

Zurab Zurabishvili — Des Grieux

Kouta Räsänen — Geronte

Edward Randall — Edmondo

Martin Gäbler

Tiina Pentinen — The Prima Donna

Jürgen Mutze

Matthias Winter


Program notes

Ansgar Weigner presents a remarkable production of Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini, the first opera composed by the Italian maestro.

Premiered in 1889 at the Teatro Regio (Turin, Italy), Manon Lescaut is an opera in four acts and Giacomo Puccini's first success. The plot was written after L'Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut ("The Story of the knight Des Grieux and Manon Lescaut") by the Abbé Prévost, a French author of the 18th century. Two other operas drew their inspiration from the same novel: Manon by Jules Massenet and Manon Lescaut by Daniel Auber (more recently, Kenneth MacMillan made a ballet of Manon's story: L'Histoire de Manon).

Manon Lescaut's plot is a tragic love story between Manon and her lover Des Grieux, of whom the hope to live together is always thwarted by a lack of money, the wickedness of a rival, a deportation to the United States. Once arrived in the virgin lands of Louisiana, Manon and Des Grieux are in a state of utter exhaustion and suffer from malnutrition. After a vain attempt to find water to quench their thirst, Manon dies in the arms of her lover Des Grieux ("Fra le tue braccia, amore").

Astrid Weber (Manon Lescaut) and Zurab Zurabishvili (Des Grieux) embody with majesty this unfortunate couple, together until their last breath.

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