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Opera Abbreviated: Manon Lescaut

The Metropolitan Opera promotional photos
The siren of song, Manon Lescaut, sung by soprano Kristine Opolais, takes the big screen this Saturday.

The Metropolitan Opera presents a new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut live in HD in movie theaters worldwide on Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m. The production moves the story based on the Abbe Prevost's  1731 novel to Nazi occupied France in the 1940s.

Imagine a female literary character so seductive, so irresistible that not one but four operas have been written based on the novel that introduced this exquisite creature to the world. The seven volume novel Memories of a Man of Quality introduced us to Manon Lescaut. Her story was taken up by Fromental Halevy in 1830, Daniel-Francois Auber in 1856, by Jules Massenet in 1884 and finally an Italian opera by Giacomo Puccini.  

  Puccini's Manon Lescaut was the composer's third opera and first hit. The premiere was delayed over problems with an Italian language libretto for this most French of characters. There were no fewer than seven authors, including Puccini himself and fellow composer Ruggero Leoncavallo. There was some froideur ​that Puccini's Manon was no tease, but threw herself into her lover's arms with full blast bel canto passion.

See what happens when a sweet young thing tries to go her own way in Paris. Manon Lescaut live from the Met, set in the Paris of the 1940s.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.