CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua Opera will present "Manon Lescaut" at Norton Hall on Friday and Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Banned by government officials due to its salacious content, Abbe Prevost's 1731 novella "Manon Lescaut" tells a story of a good girl gone bad. Giacomo Puccini, composer of "La Boheme" and "Madama Butterfly," achieved his first worldwide success with his score set to Prevost's scandalous tale.
Manon Lescaut, a poor girl from the French countryside, has ambitions to live in luxury and splendor in Paris. She will do anything to attain her goal. When Manon becomes the mistress of the elderly noble Geronte, she achieves her dreams. But when she discovers true love for the Chevalier Des Grieux, an aristocrat with limited means, Manon must choose between him and her extravagant lifestyle. The road to ruin leads her to the New World and tragedy.
The cast includes a mix of new and familiar voices. The remarkable soprano Barbara Shirvis makes her Chautauqua Opera debut in the title role of Manon Lescaut. Chautauqua favorites and internationally acclaimed artists Robert Breault and Michael Chioldi return this season as Des Grieux and Lescaut, respectively. Renowned basso buffo Kevin Glavin joins Chautauqua Opera for the first time in the role of Geronte. Tenor Ben Gulley, a 2012 Chautauqua Opera Young Artist, will make his company debut in the role of Edmondo.
After directing the stunning production of "Lucia di Lammermoor" for nearly 3,000 patrons in Chautauqua's historic Amphitheater, general/artistic director Jay Lesenger continues the 2012 season with his staging of this new "Manon Lescaut" production. On the podium will be acclaimed conductor and Opera Carolina general director James Meena, a regular guest artist with Chautauqua Opera since 2004.
Tickets range in price from $15-52 and can be purchased at www.chqtickets.com or by calling 357-6250.
Chautauqua Opera is the oldest continuously operating summer opera company in the United States. Each season it presents a variety of events for opera lovers of all ages, including fully staged productions at Chautauqua Institution's historic Amphitheater and Norton Hall featuring nationally recognized casts.
Chautauqua Institution is a summer community located in southwestern New York State on Chautauqua Lake. It offers a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship, educational programs, and recreational activities. Each summer the Institution hosts more than 2,200 events and 100,000 guests. For more information, visit www.ciweb.org