Manon - Royal Opera House - Anna Netrebko/Vittorio Grigolo - 10.07.2010

Guillot de Morfontaine - Guy de Mey
De Bretigny - William Shimell
Poussette - Simona Mihai
Javotte - Louise Innes
Rosette - Kai Ruutel
Innkeeper - Lynton Black
Lescaut - Russell Braun
Manon Lescaut - Anna Netrebko
Chevalier des Grieux - Vittorio Grigolo
Le Comte des Grieux - Christof Fischesser
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conductor - Antonio Pappano
Royal Opera Chorus
Chorus Director - Renato Balsadonna
This was the 87th performance of Manon at the Royal Opera House. It's a coproduction with the Metropolitan Opera New York, La Scala and Theatre du Capitole Toulouse.
Before attending I read all sorts of reviews. Almost all of them said that Mr Grigolo's voice was so amazing. I thought ok, let's see (or hear). And yes, they were so right. Not too often you can hear such a clear tenor voice. The voice, the acting, the feelings... great. My absolute most favorite moment of the opera was in the act 3, in the church. The aria and then his duet with Anna were something out of this world. This moment is closely followed by the ending of the opera. That "Manon" that he screems gave me goose bumps and tears instantly. It reminded me of the endings of La Boheme and Madama Butterfly. Maybe more of La Boheme because the situation is the same (oh, well, most of the opera makes you think of La Traviata: the father, the card game and many other things). Anna and Vittorio gave their best. It was the last performance of Manon from the season at ROH.
I enjoyed everything from beginning to end. Many commented on the sets. I think they matched the period (brought by the director closer to our times, maybe late 1880'), everything but those neon lights at hotel Transylvanie (they made that room look like the waiting room of a station). Great costumes too. The ladies of the chorus change... how many times?... there are grey, black, pink and white dresses. Not to forget about Anna's dresses. one of the best scenes, visually speaking, is the one in act 2 when Anna, wearing that light pink and white coat, is surrownded by gentlemen in black. Very nice coreography they had. Although it reminded me of the one in La Fille de Regiment, I still thought it was well done and funny.
A lot of applauses in the end for everybody, and even louder for Vittorio Grigolo. I think he has a great career in front of him. And tones of applauses for Antonio Pappano, his orchestra of magicians and the chorus led by Mr Balsadona.

After the performance, at the backstage door, Mr Grigolo was instantly surrownded by delirious fans (90% ladies). Many photos, autographs, kissis, huggings.. Anna came out a little bit later. Same "sign here/let's have a photo taken" treatment. Just to make everything more interesting, Erwin showed up. Greaaaat looking Erwin :)
So this was Manon at ROH. I'm so glad I got the chance to see the production and listen to these two great voices. I have no idea why The Guardian gave it only 2 stars.
PS: Herbert, it was a pleasure seeing you again!
And now, some photos. Blurier than normally. But I had a standing place in the back of the hall and people on stage moved a lot. But still, they're part of the memories I have from that evening. All the photos were taken at curtain call.
Some introduction in the atmosphere of my beloved ROH. The moment when the lights get down and "the voice" tells us to switch off the mobile phones (thumbs up for the audience at ROH!).

Louise Innes, Simona Mihai and Kai Ruutel

William Braun
Guy de Mey
Christof Fischesser
Vittorio Grigolo

Yes, we love you back! :)

Anna Netrebko

Antonio Pappano


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