The Met Live in HD continues its stunning season with the February 16 performance of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at Regal Cinema/Green Hills Mall and Opry Mills, both in Nashville. Curtain is at noon central time (1 p.m. ET).
Manon Lescaut (Karita Mattila, above) is set in 18th century France; its heroine emerges from the innocence of girlhood to become the mistress of an old man. Her life spirals downward as she faces deportation and and becomes an imprisoned and despairing soul. The opera opens with a lush elegance of wealth and the highest social strata, descending by Act III to dungeons, doldrums and despair.
With the role of the free-spirited beauty, Manon, Finnish phenomenon Karita Mattila adds another landmark role to her Met repertory. When asked how she would describe the character Manon, Mattila said:
“…I think of this girl as a young woman of her time. I think it’s important that this opera is set in a particular epoch. It gives me and the audience a better understanding of what Manon’s motives are, what it means to be a poor young woman at that time. I feel sympathy. Of course you acknowledge the mistakes that she makes, but they’re very understandable. She wants to get out of poverty, and she uses the methods that she knows to get a rich man. She’s experienced in life and in misery, and she makes some crucial mistakes in trying to avoid being a poor woman.”
The story of the magnetic attraction between two young lovers is the perfect vehicle for the soprano’s exhilarating charisma, especially when matched by the ardent tenor of Marcello Giordani as Des Grieux.
The performance runs three hours and 45 minutes with two intermissions, which are filled with backstage interviews and and inside view of the backstage preparations for each act. inside peeks at the sets.
Music Director James Levine conducts his first Met performances of the work since 1981.
For tickets, call Regal Cinemas at Green Hills Mall at (615) 269-5910 (address: 3815 Green Hills Village Drive, Nashville) or Opry Mills at (615)514-3462 (address: 570 Opry Mills Drive, Nashville). There are no Clarksville Theaters showing this event, so opera lovers must make the excursion to Nashville to see these performances broadcast live in high definition, which is the equivalent of a front row seat at the Met.