Conductor: Fabio Luisi
Production: Sir Richard Eyre
Set Designer: Rob Howell
Costume Designer: Fotini Dimou
Lighting Designer: Peter Mumford
Choreographer: Sara Erde
Cast: Kristine Opolais (Manon Lescaut), Roberto Alagna (Des Grieux), Massimo Cavalletti (Lescaut), Brindley Sherratt (Geronte)

Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann star as the ill-fated lovers at the center of Manon Lescaut, Puccini’s passionate adaptation of the classic novel about a free-spirited country girl who becomes the toast of Paris. Sir Richard Eyre’s new production, set in the 1940s, reunites him with set designer Rob Howell, his collaborator on recent Met productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, Werther, and Carmen. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts the new staging, which also stars Massimo Cavalletti as Manon’s cousin, Lescaut, and Brindley Sherratt as Geronte, her wealthy older lover.

Few operas, if any, have surpassed Manon Lescaut in the depiction of the urgency of young love—perhaps not even Puccini’s next stage work, La Bohème. The French tale of a beautiful young woman destroyed by her conflicting needs for love and luxury had already inspired Jules Massenet’s Manon (1884), which was a relatively new and immensely popular work at the time of Manon Lescaut’s premiere. Puccini was as yet almost unknown (Manon Lescaut would change that), and the idea of taking on an established composer like Massenet was considered folly. The two operas, however, are so different in tone that each stands on its own. Puccini infused the story with a new level of frank emotion and a flood of melody. He made the story, in a word, Italian and created the first of his many archetypal heroines who continue to captivate audiences today.