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Puccini - Manon Lescaut

A movie directed by Graham Vick and Humphrey Burton

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No Conductor Could Do Any More ...

  • Aug 3, 2010
Rating:
-3
... to rescue the music of Manon Lescaut, Puccini's earliest success, from mediocrity. I had hopes that John Eliot Gardiner, with the London Philharmonia and the Glyndebourne Chorus, could make me revise my opinion of this opera, make me recognize the qualities that have kept fresh it in the repertoire when so many excellent operas by other composers have fallen into desuetude. But no. The music is mediocre, and that's that. There are only so many 'slots' to be filled in the calendars of opera houses worldwide, and to plug one of them with Manon Lescaut is simply a waste.

However, DVDs of operas are another matter entirely, and on that basis again I had hopes that this production at Glydebourne would at least be at the high standard of most other productions there. Another disappointment! The staging is sparse and dull; okay, I can tolerate sparse staging. The acoustics are badly imbalanced and the singers sound muffled; okay, that's so common a problem of opera DVDs that I have pnly to grin and bear it. But Adina Nitescu, as Manon, is an outrage. Even on a CD sound-only, her singing would be unimpressive and lacking in any affective nuance. But in a visual presentation -- a DVD of an opera is a FILM, even when it's filmed as a live staging -- Nitescu is hopelessly unappealing. She's simply not glamorous enough to make Manon plausible. Lack of attractiveness could be overcome, to be sure, by passionate singing and capable physical acting, but Nitescu is inert, unresponsive to any physical cues from her male associates. Even if I loved this opera, which obviously I don't, her leaden performance would spoil it for me.

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Göran ()
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Member Since: Aug 14, 2010
Last Login: Aug 31, 2010 06:58 PM UTC
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About this movie

Wiki

A lyric drama in four acts
After the play by Abbé Prévost
Music by GIACOMO PUCCINI
Conductor: JOHN ELIOT GARDINER
Director: GRAHAM VICK
Designer: RICHARD HUDSON
Lighting Designer: JENNIFER TIPTON
Edmondo: ANTONELLO PALOMBI
Chevalier des Grieux: PATRICK DENNISTON
Geronte di Ravoir: PAOLO MONTARSOLO
Lescaut: ROBERTO DE CANDIA
Manon Lescaut: ADINA NITESCU
The Innkeeper: RICHARD MOSLEY-EVANS
A Musician: SARAH CONNOLLY
The Dancing Master: CHRISTOPHER LEMMINGS
A Sergeant of Archers: KEVIN SHARP
A Lamplighter: MICHAEL HART-DAVIS
A Naval Captain: RICHARD MOSLEY-EVANS
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus

Manon Lescaut, Puccini’s first major success, is a work of impassioned emotions based on the 18th-century novel by Abbé Prévost, depicting the doomed infatuation of Chevalier des Grieux for beautiful, fun-loving Manon. Puccini clothes the story in warmly passionate music that makes a direct appeal to the listener’s emotions.

"... humour is threaded through the action - Manon’s Parisian retinue is a wonderful parade of high camp, and as events spiral towards her arrest the action moves with the deftness of a French farce. It is faultlessly plotted." THE GUARDIAN

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Details

DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
Runtime: 126 minutes
Studio: Kultur Video
First to Review
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