The story of Manon Lescaut is fairly well known, if only for its theme. A young woman must choose her direction in life: will she pursue love or money? The story is simple, but the womans inability to choose one or the other results in her death. Nice, tragic story.
The Puccini version of the story is remarkable mostly for its complexity. The story moves along during the arias and there are several groups of individuals and their conversations woven into a single song. For the production we saw, that complexity was also its downfall. The orchestra often drowned out the vocals, and the main line of the story was overwhelmed on occasion by the chorus singing another train of the plot.
The production was… ok. The music on the whole was pleasant to listen to. Of course, I missed the most interesting lines (everyone else laughed) because of the cough I develop in that hall. I swear, the air conditioning is out to get me. The sets were well done and most of the actors actually sang well. Of course, the had to stop and pose periodically to compete with the volume of the orchestra, but the music on the whole was good.
My favorite part of the whole opera was Act 3. It was the most influenced by Wagner and the orchestration was stunning. Even without knowing Italian, it was obvious what was happening on stage. I can’t wait for the Ring. I love Wagner best of all the composers. The emotion in his music is overwhelming.