Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PREVIEW: Massenet’s Manon by the Opera Hong Kong

When I went to the screening of The MET’s Der Rosenkavalier last April 25 at Wellcome Theatre at the Bethanie, I overheard a lady complaining during dinner that she just found out that Massenet’s Manon will be performed in Hong Kong. With this, other ladies at the table gasped and a series of complain about how these things are poorly marketed surfaced. So here I am, informing and imploring you to go and see it.

Manon is going to be co-presented by Opera Hong Kong and Le French May. It will be staged at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre on 6th & 8th May, 2010 at 7:30pm. The production is a result of cooperation of Opéra de Nice, Opéra Théâtre d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse, Opéra de Massy and Grand Théâtre de Reims. Manon is an opera comique by the French composer Jules Massenet. The libretto is by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille, based on the 1731 novel L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost.

Manon tells about a young girl embarking on a journey that will eventually tear her apart between her passionate love for a young student and her increasing need for material riches and comfort as a mistress of a rich man. It is the quintessential example of the music and culture of the Parisian Belle Epoque times. The role of Manon, in fact, has such a heavy vocal demand that Beverly Sills coined it as the “French Isolde”!

Singing the role of Manon Lescaut is the French Soprano Nathalie Manfrino. Going through her biography in her website (http://www.nathaliemanfrino.fr), she seems to have the right experience and ingredients to occupy the role; and I am looking forward to seeing her. Joining her are Tenor Florian Laconi, Bass Marcel Vanaud along with some of Hong Kong’s own talents such as Joyce Wong, Melody Sze, Carol Lin and Albert Lim. The orchestra will be conducted by Maestro Nicola Colabianchi.

See more about it in the following websites:
• http://www.operahongkong.org/
• http://www.frenchmay.com/posts/program_detail/2


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