Kenneth MacMillan’s three-act ballet Manon is one of the great showpieces of the classical ballet repertory.
The story of Manon is famous, following the trials of a young girl torn between her impetuous love for the student Des Grieux and her desire for wealth and comfort as a kept woman of rich men.
Manon’s two central roles are perfect to bring out the skill and dramatic power of any dancer, especially with MacMillan’s memorable duets that expose the raw emotional currents of the doomed love affair in intense and adult fashion.
The rich stage design emphasises the life and look of the 18th century, whether at the bustling courtyard of an inn where the couple first meet or later with the louche atmosphere of a Parisian house of ‘entertainment’ and its courtesans.
Through it all, Manon has appealing and expressive music drawn from Massenet, skilfully woven into a ballet score that alternates the sensuous and the dramatic.
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