This disc has most of the right ingredients for a classic Manon Lescaut. Plácido Domingo and Montserrat Caballé in their prime were two of the loveliest Puccini voices of the late 20th century. Their Spanish temperaments only aid in conveying the passion in this story of a love that survives unpleasant parents, religious vows, and arrest, and ends without a shred of dignity in the swamps of Louisiana. The main drawback here is that conductor Bruno Bartoletti, for all of his experience, could've given a fresher account of the score and, in general, the whole thing sounds a bit studio bound. However, operatic decisions are made on the basis of voices, and this set has them. –David Patrick Stearns
This outstanding concert performance of Manon Lescaut with Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov was the absolute highlight of the 2016's Salzburg Festival – a moment of operatic glory, captured live for this unique release.
Anna excelled herself and fascinated the audience with the perfection of her exceptional voice, her unrivaled interpretation and her devotion to this very part – she is the Manon Lescaut of our time. While Verismo already features the aria "In quelle trine morbide" and the fourth act of Manon Lescaut in a breathtaking studio-version, documenting her great passion to this work, the complete recording of Manon Lescaut will be a great addition to Anna's fans and opera lovers alike.
Jonathan Kent’s new production of Manon Lescaut recorded at the Royal Opera House in 2014, includes a stellar cast, featuring Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann in the roles of the young lovers Manon Lescaut and the Chevalier des Grieux. Kent brings this 19th-century classic to a 2014 setting, non-naturalistic and theatrical. Supporting the action on stage is the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, with their venerable Music Director Antonio Pappano.
Maria Guleghina impresses strongly. To my mind she is Puccini’s ideal ‘tart with a heart for gold’. She has control and sensitivity and she acts everybody off the stage. She’s coy (but with just a hint of being street-wise) in Act I, outrageously flighty and avaricious in Act II, and, at last, contrite in Act IV. Just watch her as she taunts Geronte di Ravoir (a far too gentlemanly Luigi Roni) in Act II and the way she disports herself on the floor of the stage to seduce Des Grieux back to her charms.
This famous production of Manon Lescaut from The Royal Opera, recorded in 1983, features two of the biggest stars in opera, Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa, in their vocal prime. Placido Domingo’s performance of Des Grieux is considered to be unsurpassed. Conductor Guiseppe Sinopoli made his British operatic debut with this production. Puccini’s first masterpiece was rapturously received on its first night. It has his hallmark sensuality and also a youthful freshness, its untamed outpouring of melody just as passionate as his more famous operas, La Boheme, Tosca and Madame Butterfly. The role of Des Grieux is one of the most taxing in the tenor repertoire and Domingo’s passionate portrayal is one of his greatest achievements.
All the throbbing eroticism—and ultimate heartbreak—of Puccini’s youthful score is unleashed by James Levine and his top-flight cast. Plácido Domingo is Des Grieux, the handsome, headstrong young aristocrat who falls head over heels for the enticing, impetuous Manon Lescaut (Renata Scotto). Manon returns his love, but her obsession with luxury ruins them both. Gian Carlo Menotti’s opulent production, with sets and costumes by Desmond Heeley, superbly captures the colorful world of 18th century France.
It's fascinating to hear this earlier treatment of the story so famously set by Massenet and Puccini; Patrick Fournillier conducts a very engaging performance. Picture and sound are good, as they are for all Disque Dom releases.— International Record Review