Massenet’s ‘Manon’

Opéra Bastille | August 14, 2021, 12:00 pm

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Pretty Yende as Manon (Photo by Julien Benhamou)

In 1731, when the abbé Prévost wrote l’Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut – which would serve as inspiration for Massenet’s Manon – he was presenting us with a portrait of an era: that of the French Regency, which saw the dying days of an old society and the apparent birth of a new one in which the promise of freedom seemed to abound. Manon (Pretty Yende) would steer a course between these two worlds, escaping the convent to embrace the paths of desire and transgression and throw herself headlong into a passionate, yet self-destructive love affair with Des Grieux (Benjamin Bernheim).