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Samuel Ramey ...
Sandra Walker ...
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Nico Castel ...
Richard Fredricks ...
Robert Hale ...
Louis Perry ...
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Henry Price ...
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Music | Musical

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18 October 1977 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The ultimate Manon?
11 October 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I think so. I loved the 1983 and 2001 productions of Massenet's wonderful opera too, but I found this 1977 production the most charming and touching. The costume and set design are appropriately sumptuous, and the video directing and picture quality are excellent. Likewise with the sound.

The music by Massenet is truly wonderful, of his operas I think only Thais comes close to Manon's exquisite beauty. The orchestra display a lot of pathos in their playing, and the conducting shows efficiency and finesse. Staging especially the St Sulpice(the best for me) and the gambling scene is very effective.

As for performances, this Manon is hard to fault. Henry Price is much better than he was as Alfredo, Des Grieux suits his voice much more showing more warmth and his acting is much less stiff and more confident.

Richard Fredericks is superb, I have always been impressed by him, and his Lescaut is no exception. The performance is one of wit and charm, and Frederick's voice is rich and noble.

Samuel Ramey gives my second favourite performance of this Manon. Ramey is consistently great to me, and here he makes for a sympathetic Comte Des Greiux.

Beverly Sills however makes this production. So much was wonderful already, but Sills in one of her best roles- her second best performance on DVD after her Queen Elizabeth in 1975's Roberto Devereux- shows heart-breaking acting, a beautiful voice and good technique.

All in all, a lovely production and for me the best Manon. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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