Manon Lescaut

Dramma lirico in four acts by Giacomo Puccini
text by Marco Praga, Domenico Oliva, Luigi Illica and Ruggero Leoncavallo after Abbé Prévost

    Sung in Italian with German surtitles
    approx. 2:30 h - including 1 interval
    Livestream on 4 Dec. at 6:00pm - beginning at 5:45 pm.

    Pre-performance lecture, 45 minutes prior to each performance (in German)
    Referee: Benjamin Wäntig
    • Synopsis

      ACT 1

      At a casting on a film set, Edmondo speaks with the extras on hand. Renato Des Grieux is among them and sings a song in praise of love. The young Manon Lescaut has also arrived at the casting, accompanied by her brother. Des Grieux immediately feels helplessly attracted to her: it’s the proverbial love at first sight. But Geronte de Ravoir, the film producer, has also fallen for Manon’s charms and tries to entice her with the promise of a great film career. Des Grieux learns from Edmondo of his rival’s plans, and once again declares his sincere love for Manon, convincing her to flee with him immediately. And yet Lescaut ensures the angry Geronte that Manon won’t be able to last long with the penniless Des Grieux. And in fact, he’s right: Manon returns and chooses Geronte.

      ACT 2

      Geronte offers Manon a luxurious life that cannot alone make her happy though. She still longs for the passionate Des Grieux. Her brother wants to help her get her lover back. Dancers appear along with a dance teacher who coaches Manon on her way to stardom, animating Manon and Geronte to dance.
      In a café on the set, Manon meets Des Grieux, who is full of accusations of betrayal. This encounter between the two culminates in a new emotional declaration of love, witnessed by Geronte. He explodes onto the scene, threatening both. Lescaut runs to help: the couple should flee as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of danger. But Manon cannot leave her possessions in time: the guards summoned by Geronte arrest her.

      ACT 3

      Manon is imprisoned. Des Grieux, still undyingly in love with her, is committed to stand by her and follow her wherever she goes. An attempt to free Manon fails; there is nothing to prevent her deportation. Together with other prisoners, Manon is brought to a ship. Des Grieux begs despairingly to be allowed to accompany her into exile. The captain agrees.

      ACT 4

      In search of refuge, Manon and Des Grieux find themselves lost in the wilderness. Physically and psychologically broken, Manon feels the onset of death. Her beauty and her longing for love and wealth have brought her close to the abyss. In vain, Des Grieux hopes for rescue, but her remaining strength dwindles. The rise and fall of Manon has run its course.