English National Ballet’s production of Kenneth MacMillan’s gorgeous interpretation of the story of Manon is now available to rent. The passionate and ultimately tragic account of a young girl who was as much in love with romance as with the trappings of wealth, was described by The Telegraph as “A truly irresistible tragedy… dramatic, thrilling, affecting”, and by The Express as “exquisitely beautiful”.
Starring Alina Cojocaru in the title role, the ballet features Joseph Caley as Des Grieux, and Jeffrey Cirio as Manon’s brother, Lescaut. It was filmed at the Manchester Opera House in October 2018, with Music Director, Gavin Sutherland, leading the English National Ballet Philharmonic.
The story of Manon is based on the 1731 novel L’Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Benedictine Abbé Prévost. Set in 18th century Paris, it reflects a time when decadence, corruption and depravity were rife in the city. It tells how Manon, a beautiful but desperately poor young girl, is adored by the student Des Grieux, and she loves him in return. Her brother, however, sells her to Monsieur GM, a wealthy older man, and – attracted by the lure of the luxury on offer – Manon deserts Des Grieux, setting in train a chain of events that ultimately lead to tragedy.
MacMillan wrote the ballet in 1974 – an elegant, apposite and highly creative work. The score is an orchestral arrangement of the music which Jules Massenet wrote for his opera, Manon. He was regarded as the leading French operatic composer of his day, and Manon – written in 1884 – was considered by many to be his masterpiece.
English National Ballet’s performance of Manon can be rented via this link for £7.99.
Information sourced from:
English National Ballet programme notes