Manon is a simple woman whose journey to the convent takes a romantic detour. She falls in love with the chivalrous Chevalier des Grieux but is seduced by another man’s promise of wealth and security. Her love for Des Grieux endures, but the couple faces even more obstacles along their passionate path.
Audiences can find out what happens to these young lovers in the University of Houston Moores Opera Center’s production of Jules Massenet’s “Manon.” The opera (performed in French with English surtitles) will make its UH debut in the Moores Opera House (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard). Show times and dates are as follows:
- 7:30 p.m., Oct. 23, 24, 26
- 2 p.m., Oct. 25
Tickets are $20 and $12 (for students and seniors). They can be purchased by calling 713-743-3313 or visiting the Moores online box office.
“Manon” premiered in 1884 at the Opera-Comique in Paris. Since its debut, the opera has become an international favorite and is among Massenet’s most popular works.
“It’s an epic romance,” said Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Center. “It’s quite spectacular with beautiful, sweeping music and gorgeous costumes. It has a Hollywood feel and a bit of an edge to it.
“It’s an opera that I have wanted to do for a while. The roles are very challenging, and we currently have some singers who are up to the task.”
Alternating the title role are sopranos Sydney Anderson and Lisa Borik. Tenors Mark Thomas and Zach Averyt alternate the role of Des Grieux. Ross directs the opera and Raymond Harvey is serving as conductor.
The opera is based on the short novel “Manon Lescaut” by Abbé Prévost. In addition to Massenet’s work, the opera has been adapted into ballet performances and a stage play. An earlier opera “Manon Lescaut” by Daniel Auber premiered in 1856. Giacomo Puccini also composed an opera with this title. His “Manon Lescaut” premiered in 1893.
“Manon” kicks off the Moores Opera Center’s 2015 – 16 performance season. Other operas to be delivered include “La Rondine” by Giacomo Puccini (Jan. 28 – 31), “Così fan tutte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Jan. 29 – Feb. 1) and “Anna Karenina” by David Carlson (Aug. 8 – 11).
To learn more about the Moores Opera Center or to purchase tickets to performances, visit its website.