by Daniel Hathaway
On Friday evening, November 22 and Sunday afternoon, November 24, The Cleveland Opera will raise the curtain on what it believes to be the first local productions of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut in living memory. Performances will take place in the Grand Ballroom of the Tudor Arms Hotel with the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra under the direction of John Thomas Dodson.
The cast includes Dorota Sobieska (as Manon Lescaut), Mikhail Urusov (Chevalier Renato des Grieux), Jonathan Stinson (Lescaut), Francisco Prado (Geronte di Revoir), Brian Skoog (Edmondo), Loren Reash-Henz (Innkeeper), Elizabeth Frey (Singer), Cory Svette (Dance Master), and Jeremy Gilpatric (Sergeant of the Royal Archers).
The story of Manon Lescaut originated from the pen of Antoine François Prévost d’Exiles (1697-1763), commonly known as the Abbé Prévost, a worldly character and prolific writer who began his career as a Jesuit, ended up as a Benedictine monk, and famously wrote the chronicle of the courtesan Manon Lescaut in the seventh volume of his Mémoires et aventures d’un homme de qualité.
The tale gained such currency that it became the subject for operas by Daniel Auber in 1856 and Jules Massenet in 1884. [Read more…]