GP at the Met: Manon

About the Opera

Star soprano Anna Netrebko sings her first Met performances of the title role in Manon, Massenet’s opera about a country girl with conflicting desires for love and luxury who is drawn into a life of glamorous — but hollow — Parisian sophistication.

Manon airs on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances at the Met Sunday, August 5 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will broadcast the opera at 12:30 p.m. that day, with a primetime encore the following Thursday, August 9 at 8:30 p.m.

Piotr Beczala co-stars as the Chevalier des Grieux, a young nobleman who falls in love with Manon; Paulo Szot sings the role of Lescaut, Manon’s protective cousin who struggles with temptations of his own; and David Pittsinger sings the Comte des Grieux, who wants his son out of Manon’s arms and into a respectable future.

Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads Massenet’s passionate opera for the first time at the Met, in a stylish new production by Laurent Pelly.

Pelly’s staging of Manon, a success when it premiered at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in 2010, is his second Met production; he also directed the new production of La Fille du Régiment that aired on Great Performances at the Met in 2008.

Manon features Pelly’s costume designs, scenic design by Chantal Thomas, lighting design by Joël Adam, and choreography by Lionel Hochein his Met debut. Pelly’s production, set in the late 19th century, is a co-production of the Met, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse.

These were Netrebko’s first complete Met performances as the hedonistic and irresistible Manon.  In recent years, she has sung Manon to critical acclaim at the Vienna State Opera and in the premiere of Pelly’s staging at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Beczala sang his first-ever performances of the Chevalier des Grieux in this production. Since his 2006 Met debut as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, he has sung Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lenski in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Roméo in Roméo et Juliette.

Szot starred as Kovalyov in the 2010 Met premiere of Shostakovich’s The Nose and returned in 2011 as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen. He won a 2008 Tony Award for his portrayal of Emile de Becque in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific which aired on PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center.

In the 2011-12 season, Luisi has led a diverse repertory of acclaimed performances at the Met, including the new production premieres of Don Giovanni (seen on Great Performances at the Met) and Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, airing in September as part of the complete airing of Wagner’s Ring Cycle on PBS.

Pelly, a noted French opera and theater director, made his Met debut in 2008 with the new production of Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment. He is the co-director of the Théâtre National de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées and has directed theater productions at, among many others, the Comédie Française and Odéon in Paris and the Avignon Festival.

Manonwas originally seen live in movie theaters on April 7 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1700 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 54 countries around the world.

Great Performances at the Metis a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.

Verena Dobnik, Associated Press, wrote of this production, “(Netrebko’s)… supercharged voice is a fine fit for a production that paints a picture of ravishing Paris – with a knife in it,” while Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times observed, “With her rich, gleaming sound and vocal charisma, [Netrebko] was a Manon of rare intensity and emotional depth… Mr. Beczala’s ardent, virile voice sounded wonderful.”

Soprano Deborah Voigt hosts the transmission. Gary Halvorson directs the telecast.

Great Performancesis funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Irene Diamond Fund and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Metis provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®.

For the Met, Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.