I'm probably more partial to the Met version from 1980 because 1) I was actually there, in the first row center, during the performance that was being taped for posterity, and was able to watch it up close, and listen to those glorious voices live, and 2) I believe, as does the earlier reviewer, that Renata Scotto's acting made Manon come alive...and met Domingo's Des Grieux heartache for heartache, which is no mean feat.
But in the vocal department, as good as Scotto was -- and she was VERY good -- Te Kanewa was absolutely glorious. Her voice was one of the most beautiful ever to grace the opera stage -- supremely sweet, strong and supple, with floated high notes that must be heard to be believed.
So it's a toss-up, really. The anchor for both versions, of course, is Domingo. There has never been -- and there never will be again -- a tenor who had a voice of such stunning beauty and dark strength, incredible acting ability, and amazing good looks. He had it all, and in both this version, made when he was 42 years old, and in the earlier Renata Scotto version of "Manon Lescaut", when he was 39, he was in his absolute prime.
Interested opera fans should view both versions...decide for yourself which you prefer. You certainly can't go wrong with either one.
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