Based on a 1731 novel by the French writer Abbe Prevost, this opera by Giacomo Puccini debuted in Turin in 1893. It was the third opera by the famed Italian composer, and the first that attracted critical and box office attention.
Manon Lescaut opens in Paris in the latter part of the 18th century, and concerns, as many operas seem to do, a tragic love affair between a woman of ill-repute (Manon) and a man of good social standing (Des Grieux), whose affection for each other isn’t strong enough to weather the social prejudices of the day. Adding a bit of a unique twist is that the lovers end up journeying across the ocean to seek happiness in New Orleans in territory that was then under the control of Spain.
Today and Sunday a production of the opera by London’s Royal Opera will be broadcast at the RPL Theatre. Curtain both days is 2 p.m., and tickets are $15 Adults, $12 Seniors, Students $10. To give you a taste of the opera, here’s an excerpt from a 2008 production at New York’s Metropolitan Opera: