Zurich Opera House tickets 9 February 2025 - Manon Lescaut | GoComGo.com

Manon Lescaut

Zurich Opera House, Zurich, Switzerland
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7 PM
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If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Zurich, Switzerland
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 4
Sung in: Italian
Titles in: German,English

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Cast
Performers
Conductor: Marco Armiliato
Soprano: Elena Stikhina (Manon Lescaut)
Baritone: Konstantin Shushakov (Lescaut)
Orchestra: Philharmonia Zürich
Tenor: Saimir Pirgu (Chevalier Renato des Grieux)
Choir: Zürich Opera Chorus
Creators
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Director: Barrie Kosky
Librettist: Domenico Oliva
Librettist: Giulio Ricordi
Librettist: Giuseppe Giacosa
Librettist: Luigi Illica
Librettist: Marco Praga
Librettist: Ruggero Leoncavallo
Overview

Puccini succeeded in creating multi-layered character portraits marked by great depth of emotion, not only in the title character but also in the tenor role. Soprano Elena Stikhina, who was most recently celebrated as Salome at the Opernhaus Zürich, can be heard as Manon. Tenor Saimir Pirgu returns as Des Grieux. Following La fanciulla del West, Barrie Kosky and Marco Armiliato will once again collaborate on a work by Puccini.

Manon Lescaut's life ends in a vast, barren American landscape. She dies exhausted, in the arms of her lover Des Grieux, far from the social world she fascinated with her beauty. With this final act of Manon Lescaut, Giacomo Puccini created an unconventional ending that is entirely devoted to the two main characters, underscoring symbolically the impossibility of their love. In the same month that Giuseppe Verdi staged his last opera in Milan, Puccini introduced himself as his most important successor with Manon Lescaut in Turin in 1893. The work was a ground-breaking success: with the story of the decay of a fragile, beautiful woman, which he took from the French novelist Abbé Prévost and adapted for his own needs with the help of a total of six librettists, Puccini found his voice not only thematically but also stylistically. The first encounter between Manon, who is officially destined for a convent, and the student Des Grieux takes place in Amiens, France. But the two are never seen as a happy couple in Puccini’s version. Their fate together, which takes them to Paris, Le Havre, and across the ocean to America, is elusive from the outset. The circle around the rich Geronte, who temporarily enables Manon to live a life of luxury in Paris, provides a great contrast: Puccini illustrates the scene in his Parisian salon with a superimposed, Rococo style, which he contrasts with a sound clearly inspired by Wagner for the desperate passion between Manon and Des Grieux. 

History
Premiere of this production: 01 February 1893, Teatro Regio, Turin

Manon Lescaut is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini, composed between 1890 and 1893. The story is based on the 1731 novel L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost. In 1884 an opera by Jules Massenet entitled Manon, and based on the same novel, was premiered and has also become popular.

Synopsis

Time: The second half of the eighteenth century.
Places: Amiens, Paris, Le Havre, New Orleans.
 

Act 1
Amiens: A large public square near the Paris Gate

Off the square is an Avenue on one side and an Inn on the other, with a balcony. It is evening, townspeople, soldiers and a crowd of male students and girls stroll through the avenue and square while others gather in groups. Some are seated at the tables outside the Inn, drinking and gambling.

Edmondo sings a song of youthful pleasure (Edmondo, chorus of students, girls and townspeople: Ave, sera gentile – Hail gentle evening). Des Grieux enters, and they greet him, but he is melancholic and does not join the others, singing cynically of love (des Grieux, Edmondo, chorus: L'amor?, L'amor? ...io non conosco! – Love?, Love?...I know nothing of that). They joke with him and provoke him to feign flirtation with the girls (des Grieux: Tra voi, belle, brune e bionde – Among you beauties, dark and fair); (Edmondo, chorus: Ma, bravo!).

A postillion horn is heard and the carriage from Arras pulls up at the Inn, as the crowd peers in to see who the passengers are (Chorus: Giunge il cocchio d'Arras! – Here comes the Arras coach!) Lescaut (Manon's brother), then an elderly treasurer-general, Geronte di Ravoir, descend from the coach, Geronte helping Manon, then the remainder of the passengers. The crowd comments (Chorus, Edmondo, Lescaut, des Grieux, Geronte: Discendono, vediam! – Look, they are getting down!) Edmondo and the students admire Manon (Chi non darebbe a quella donnina bella? – Who would not give to that beautiful young woman?). Des Grieux is also smitten (Dio, quanto è bella! – Dear God, such beauty!). The other passengers enter the Inn, while Lescaut signals Manon to wait for him. She sits, as des Grieux, who has been fixated on her, approaches her and declares his feelings for her (des Grieux, Manon,: Cortese damigella – Gentle lady), only to learn she is destined for a convent at the will of her father. He offers to help her, and when Lescaut calls her he begs her to meet him later; she reluctantly agrees. After Manon leaves, des Grieux sings of his feelings for her (des Grieux: Donna non vidi mai – Never before have I beheld a woman such as this). The students and girls, who have been observing the couple, comment mockingly on his good fortune (Edmondo, students: La tua ventura ci rassicura – Your good fortune encourages us).

Lescaut and Geronte descend and converse in the square about Manon's fate, observed by Edmondo. Geronte, who also is captivated by Manon, says she would be wasted in a convent. On hearing his fellow traveller's opinion, Lescaut begins to reconsider his task of escorting his sister to the convent. The students invite Lescaut to join in their card game. Geronte observes that Lescaut is preoccupied with the game and discloses his plan to abduct Manon and take her to Paris to the Innkeeper, offering him money for assistance and his silence. Edmondo overhears the plan and informs des Grieux (Edmondo: Cavaliere, te la fanno! – Sir, they are outwitting you!). He offers to help des Grieux, arranging for the card players to keep Lescaut occupied.

Manon slips out of the inn to meet des Grieux as promised (Manon: Vedete? Io son fedele alla parola mia – You see? I am faithful to my word). He declares his love for her and advises her of the plot to abduct her, while Edmondo arranges for the carriage Geronte has hired to take the couple to Paris. They leave together just as Geronte arrives, ready to execute his plans (Geronte: Di sedur la sorellina e il momento! – The moment to seduce the little sister has arrived). Geronte is taunted by Edmondo. Realising he has been tricked, Geronte urges Lescaut to follow the departed pair. The more pragmatic Lescaut advises him that the pair will soon run out of money, and then Manon will be his.

Act 2
A room in Geronte's house in Paris

Chevalier des Grieux's costume for act 2, designed by Adolfo Hohenstein for the world premiere
(Puccini omits the part of the novel in which Manon and des Grieux live together for a few months, and Manon leaves des Grieux when his money has run out.)

Manon is now Geronte's mistress. Manon and her hairdresser are in the room when Lescaut enters (Manon, Lescaut: Dispettosetto questo riccio!); (Lescaut: Sei splendida e lucente!). She tells him that Geronte is too old and wicked; he bores her. Manon is sad, and her thoughts turn to des Grieux (Manon: In quelle trine morbide); (Lescaut, Manon: Poiché tu vuoi saper).

Musicians hired by Geronte enter to amuse her (Madrigal: Sulla vetta tu del monte); (Manon, Lescaut: Paga costor). Geronte brings a dancing master; they dance a minuet, then she sings a gavotte (Dancing master, Geronte, Manon, chorus: Vi prego, signorina [minuet]); (Manon, Geronte, chorus: L'ora, o Tirsi, è vaga e bella). After dancing, Geronte and the musicians leave the house.

Dismayed that his sister is unhappy living with Geronte, Lescaut goes to find des Grieux. Des Grieux appears in Geronte's house (Manon, des Grieux: Oh, sarò la più bella! – This love's own magic spell). As des Grieux and Manon renew their vows of love, Geronte returns unexpectedly. He salutes the couple, reminding Manon of his many favors to her, including some precious jewels. She replies that she cannot love him (Geronte, des Grieux, Manon: Affè, madamigella).

Bowing low, he leaves them. Manon rejoices in their freedom (Manon: Ah! Ah! Liberi!); (des Grieux: "Ah, manon, mi tradisce il tuo folle pensiero). Lescaut urges them to leave the house at once, but Manon hesitates at the thought of leaving her jewels and pretty frocks. Again, Lescaut enters in breathless haste, making signs that they must depart immediately. Manon snatches up her jewels, and they go to the door. It has been locked by Geronte's order. Soldiers appear to arrest Manon who, in trying to escape, drops the jewels at Geronte's feet. She is dragged away and des Grieux is not permitted to follow her (des Grieux, Manon, Lescaut, sergeant, Geronte: Lescaut! – Tu qui?).

(Intermezzo: The journey to Le Havre.)

His various efforts to have Manon released and even to free her by force having failed, des Grieux follows her to Le Havre.

Act 3
A square near the harbor in Le Havre

At dawn Manon is with the other imprisoned courtesans (des Grieux, Lescaut, Manon: Ansia eterna, crudel). Lescaut has bribed a guard to let des Grieux speak with Manon. Talking to her through the bars, he learns that she is to be deported to Louisiana. A lamplighter passes, singing a song as he extinguishes the lights (Lamplighter, des Grieux, Manon: E Kate ripose al re); (des Grieux, Manon: Manon, disperato è il mio prego).

They attempt a rescue, but in vain. The guard appears, escorting a group of women, who are going on the same ship as Manon. She walks among them, pale and sad. The crowd makes brutal comments during the roll call of the courtesans (Chorus, Lescaut, des Grieux, Manon: All'armi! All'armi!), but Lescaut inspires pity for Manon (Sergeant, chorus, Lescaut, Manon, des Grieux: Rosetta! – Eh, che aria!).

Des Grieux, in despair at the idea of being separated from Manon forever, goes to her side. He tries to seize her but is pushed away by the sergeant. However, the captain of the ship sees his intense grief (des Grieux: Pazzo son!) and allows him to board the ship.

Act 4
A vast plain near the outskirts of the New Orleans territory

Having fled the jealous intrigues of New Orleans, the lovers make their way across a desert to seek refuge in a British settlement. Wandering in the desert, the ailing Manon is exhausted. She falls and cannot go any farther (des Grieux, Manon: Tutta su me ti posa); (des Grieux: Vedi, son io che piango); (Manon, des Grieux: Sei tu che piangi).

Des Grieux is alarmed by Manon's appearance and goes to look for water. While he is gone, Manon recalls her past and muses about her fatal beauty and her fate (Manon: Sola, perduta, abbandonata).

Des Grieux returns, having been unable to find water. Manon bids him a heart-rending farewell, however not before complaining about how her life has not been fair and that she is no longer beautiful. Before dying in his arms Manon asks des Grieux to tell her how beautiful she used to be, and how he must forgive her wrongdoings and faults before she dies, not listening to him repeat how much he loves her and will miss her. Overcome by grief at the death of his vain and selfish lover, des Grieux collapses across her body (Manon, des Grieux: Fra le tue braccia, amore).

Venue Info

Zurich Opera House - Zurich
Location   Sechseläutenplatz 1

Zürich Opera House is a main opera house in Zürich and Switzerland. Located at the Sechseläutenplatz, it has been the home of the Zürich Opera since 1891, and also houses the Bernhard-Theater Zürich. It is also home to the Zürich Ballet. The Opera House also holds concerts by its Philharmonia orchestra, matinees, Lieder evenings and events for children. The Zürich Opera Ball is organised every year in March, and is usually attended by prominent names.

The first permanent theatre, the Aktientheater, was built in 1834 and it became the focus of Richard Wagner’s activities during his period of exile from Germany.

The Aktientheater burnt down in 1890. The new Stadttheater Zürich (municipal theatre) was built by the Viennese architects Fellner & Helmer, who changed their previous design for the theatre in Wiesbaden only slightly. It was opened in 1891. It was the city's main performance space for drama, opera, and musical events until 1925, when it was renamed Opernhaus Zürich and a separate theatre for plays was built: The Bernhard Theater opened in 1941, in May 1981 the Esplanada building was demolished, and the present adjoint building opened on 27/28 December 1984 after three years of transition in the Kaufhaus building nearby Schanzengraben.

By the 1970s, the opera house was badly in need of major renovations; when some considered it not worth restoring, a new theatre was proposed for the site. However, between 1982 and 1984, rebuilding took place but not without huge local opposition which was expressed in street riots. The rebuilt theatre was inaugurated with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the world première of Rudolf Kelterborn’s Chekhov opera Der Kirschgarten.

As restored, the theatre is an ornate building with a neo-classical façade of white and grey stone adorned with busts of Weber, Wagner, and Mozart. Additionally, busts of Schiller, Shakespeare, and Goethe are to be found. The auditorium is built in the neo-rococo style and seats approximately 1200 people. During the refurbishment, the issue of sightlines was not adequately addressed. As a result, the theatre has a high number of seats with a limited view, or no view, of the stage. This is unusual in international comparison, where sightlines in historic opera houses have been typically enhanced over time.

Corporate archives and historical library collections are held at the music department of the Predigerkirche Zürich.

The Zürich Opera House is also home of the International Opera Studio (in German: Internationales Opernstudio IOS) which is a educational program for young singers and pianists. The studio was created in 1961 and has renowned artists currently teaching such as Brigitte Fassbaender, Hedwig Fassbender, Andreas Homocki, Rosemary Joshua, Adrian Kelly, Fabio Luisi, Jetske Mijnssen, Ann Murray, Eytan Pessen or Edith Wiens.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Zurich, Switzerland
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 4
Sung in: Italian
Titles in: German,English
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