Cookie settings

This tool helps you select and disable various tags / trackers / analytics tools used on this website.






on May 13, 2023
This is the page for the performance on May 13, 2023.
Music Jules Massenet Text Henri Meilhac & Philippe Gille
→ Opéra comique in fünf Akten

Cast 13.05.2023

Conductor Bertrand de Billy
Production Andrei Serban
Scenery and Costume Design Peter Pabst
Manon Lescaut Elsa Dreisig
Chevalier Des Grieux Charles Castronovo
Graf Des Grieux Dan Paul Dumitrescu
Lescaut Michael Arivony
Brétigny Clemens Unterreiner Clemens Unterreiner
Guillot de Morfontaine Andrea Giovannini
Poussette Miriam Kutrowatz
Javotte Stephanie Houtzeel
Rosette Daria Sushkova


With the world premiere of »Manon« in 1884, Jules Massenet was able to celebrate what is probably the greatest triumph of his career as a composer – both in his home country of France and abroad. What impressed the audience from the very beginning was the variety of musical forms and textures: it abruptly switches from mass scenes to sections reminiscent of a chamber play, where each scene, however brief, is given its own, multi-faceted mood between genre painting, comedy and sensitive tragedy. Compared to the novel, Massenet elevates the mysteriousness of the seductive Manon, the child wife who drifts between love and luxury. Andrei Serban's staging takes up the rhythm of the score and, with the help of projections, allows lavish long shots of the stage to follow clear close ups, occasionally expanding the space of the stage in an unusually ingenious way by using mirrors.


The wealthy Guillot de Morfontaine, the farmer-general Brétigny and their female companions Poussette, Javotte und Rosette are enjoying themselves in a tavern at a staging post in Amiens. The approach of a group of travellers is announced, and curious towns-folk gather to watch them, amongst them Sergeant Lescaut, who has come to meet his cousin Manon to take her to a convent. The young Manon is indeed amongst the new arrivals, enchanting all the bystanders – including Guillot – with her beauty. The latter offers her a life of luxury if she will become his mistress. Though Manon rejects his advances, she feels irresistibly attracted by the prospect of wealth. Chevalier Des Grieux also arrives on the scene. Hardly has the young noblemen set eyes on the young girl than he, too, falls in love with her completely. Manon is also attracted to him, and agrees to flee to Paris with him. However, the time which the young lovers spend with one another is all too short, as Manon finally gives in to the advances of the wealthy Brétigny. Chevalier Des Grieux is forcefully abducted at the instigation of his father, the old Count Des Grieux, who wishes to put his son back on the straight and narrow. Some time later, Manon chances to hear that the young Des Grieux is about to take holy orders. She immediately goes to visit him at the monastery of Saint-Sulpice. It only takes a few tender words from Manon for Des Grieux to succumb to her charms: once again the couple flee together. Since Manon is still unwilling to do without her luxury, Des Grieux endeavours to improve his financial circumstan- ces by gambling at the sleazy Hôtel de Transylvanie. Guillot sees him there and drums up a scandal, accusing Des Grieux of cheating. He fetches the police, and both Manon and Des Grieux are arrested. Though Count Des Grieux is able to secure the release of his son, Manon is to be deported to America. However, worn down by the exertions of prison life, Manon dies in Des Grieuxʼs arms on the way to the harbour.


This production is made possible thanks to the support of