Manon Lescaut, Opera Holland Park, June 2019

This opening of the Opera Holland Park season saw a production of Puccini’s first masterpiece by young director Karolina Sofulak, who updated this story of a girl torn between the student Des Grieux and the elderly aristocrat Geronte from its natural place in the eighteenth century to the swinging sixties. It didn’t work, and the choreography by Tim Claydon made the staging look amateur. As Manon, Elizabeth Llewellyn was recovering from laryngitis so her beautiful voice was more constrained than it might have been, and Peter Auty as Des Grieux seemed to strain in his upper register. The most robust performance was Paul Carey Jones as Lescaut, who was excellent. See my review in The Article.

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