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Lyric drama in 4 acts
Beginning: 6.09.2019 - 19:00
Completion: 21:45
Sung in Italian
Manon Lescaut
Giaсomo Puccini
Manon Lescaut

Libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo, Marco Praga, Giuseppe Giacosa, Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica based on the 1731 novel L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost.

Premiered on the stage of the Kyiv Opera on May 28, 2006.

  • Chief Conductor:
  • Keri-Lynn WILSON
Act 1
At the post office in Amiens, a motley crowd of cheerful citizens, students, and girls gather. The student Edmondo, whom everyone makes fun of, sings a madrigal about love and youth. Des Grieux approaches him - a noble, but poor young man who has not yet had any affairs or love, is the subject of jokes from his student friends.
A stagecoach arrives, from which the sergeant of the royal guard Lescaut emerges, along with his sister, the enchanting Manon, and the wealthy state treasurer Geronte. Struck by her beauty, des Grieux timidly approaches the girl. Manon sadly tells of how her family is sending her to the monastery, with an escort from her brother. Agitated, des Grieux promises to free the girl from her monastic captivity. Manon calls for her brother, but she promises to return to the young man.
Des Grieux's heart is full of love, and he sings of a whirlwind romance, as Edmondo and the other students laugh at him. Meanwhile, the old treasurer Geronte whispers to the innkeeper. He orders a crew to abduct Manon, to whom he took a liking while traveling with her. He is confident in the power of his gold - he does not even consider whether or not Manon would want to run away with a husband of such a venerable age. In his opinion, money will overcome all obstacles.
Manon’s brother drunkenly plays cards and does not pay attention to his sister, who quietly slips out of the tavern and hurries to meet des Grieux. The ardent passion of the young man captured Manon. The lovers, whom Edmondo helped, leave in the carriage that Geronte hired. Once he finally came to his senses, the carriage was already far away.
Act 2
Despite their passionate love, Manon was not ready to share poverty with des Grieux and, under the influence of her brother, accepted the courtship of the old treasurer. She now lives in the magnificent palace of Geronte.
Sergeant Lescaut did not miscalculate, because Geronte’s wallet is inexhaustible. The brother tells jokes to entertain Manon, whose beauty turned out to be very lucrative for him. He speaks condescendingly of the unfortunate des Grieux, who ended up being a sweet and sincere fellow. Although it is better to be in a palace than in poverty, Manon cannot forget the passionate kisses of the young chevalier. Realizing the sadness of his sister, Lescaut, holding in his pocket Geronte’s gold, agrees to some mediation between his sister and the discarded des Grieux.
The pompous and wealthy Geronte, every morning, as if he was a noble gentleman, imitates the "royal morning dressing" ceremony that takes place in Versailles. He enters the boudoir of his mistress Manon, where he watches her dance lesson, and presents her with a bird in a cage. This image haunts the young girl who, like the bird, cannot fly freely, because she is a captive...
Des Grieux suddenly appears. Manon throws herself into the arms of her loved one. A few words of love - and des Grieux is ready to forget her betrayal.
In a passionate embrace, the lovers forget about the danger. Geronte suddenly returns, but Manon laughs at him. The annoyed old treasurer leaves, but promises to take his revenge.
Left alone with Manon, des Grieux begs her to immediately leave the magnificent palace and run away. Sergeant Lescaut rushes in with alarming news. Geronte, accusing Manon of debauchery, seeks her punishment. They must hurry. Despite des Grieux’s requests not to take a single item belonging to Geronte, Manon takes the jewelry that was gifted to her.
The fugitives run into a soldier. As Geronte laughs on, Manon is being arrested. Des Grieux tries to prevent this, but Lescaut restrains the young man, promising to save Manon later!
Act 3
Scene 1
At Le Havre, a ship is set to depart, on which the unfortunate exiles will sail to the distant, at the time deserted America. Des Grieux and Lescaut watch the prison, where women await the decision of their fate and are to be sent to the colony. Manon is among them.
Des Grieux and sergeant Lescaut want to bribe the guards and organize Manon’s escape.
Manon appears from behind the bars, and is told of the escape plan. But the plan breaks down. At the alarm, the guard runs out to the square.
The women sentenced to exile are driven to the ship. Among the outcasts from human society is Manon. She says goodbye to des Grieux, who, like a madman, cries and begs not to be separated from his beloved.
The captain of the ship takes pity on the pleas of des Grieux and allows him to accompany Manon to her exile.
Scene 2
There is no peace for Manon and des Grieux even overseas. After many ordeals, they are forced to flee again - this time to the desert.
Exhausted by thirst and hunger, the lovers fall without strength. Life leaves them. Purified by suffering, Manon dies in the arms of des Grieux, over who the sky darkened.
"Time will swallow my guilt, my sins will be forgotten. But my love will live forever."