As a big opera enthusiast, I was eager to watch productions of
Massenet's masterpiece Manon(as much as I like Thais for its affecting
final scene, Manon is my favourite Massenet opera). I saw three
productions of this wonderful work, one with Beverly Sills which was my
personal favourite, one with Renee Fleming and this. All three are
wonderful and do justice to the opera.
For this Manon, visually it adds to the opera's existing beauty. The
picture quality and sound are excellent and the camera work is
interesting and stylish. The costumes and sets may be old-fashioned to
some, I for one found them very sumptuous and very pleasing to the
Musically, this Manon is equally brilliant. The orchestra play with
pathos, enhancing the poignancy of the final scene, and the conducting
is suitably genteel. As for performances, Francissco Araiza for me has
never been this good. He is dashing, commands the stage well(I
personally can find him stiff even in the Mozart he specialises in) and
is in sparkling voice.
Edita Gruberova is spellbinding, very touching, vocally wonderful with
colouratura that positively glitters and my second favourite Manon
after Sills. And she is very musical as well, the St Sulpice scene
allows her to use her full voice, but her lovely pianissimos are not to
be missed either.
Overall, an absolutely beautiful Manon. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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