Giacomo Puccini

Manon Lescaut

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Manon Lescaut

Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini is an Italian opera in four acts. The libretto was written by Luigi Illica, Marco Praga, Giuseppe Giacosa, Domenico Oliva, Giulio Ricordi, and Giacomo Puccini himself. The opera premiered on February 1, 1893, at Teatro Regio in Turin.

Although the undisputed icon of Italian opera in the 19th century was Giuseppe Verdi, who also played an important role in awakening Italian national consciousness, the burden of his “crown” soon fell on Giacomo Puccini, who was 45 years younger than Verdi (1858-1924). After his first attempts at opera, Puccini was increasingly recognized as Verdi’s symbolic successor, as noted by the British playwright George Bernard Shaw after the London premiere of Manon Lescaut in 1894.

While Puccini’s operatic profile is much less inclined towards the treatment of historical themes than Verdi’s, the two opera giants share a significant similarity in the deeply sympathetic treatment of human destinies, interpersonal relationships, and, above all, an unparalleled sense of musical drama driven by human passions.

The opera’s story is based on the novel Manon Lescaut by Antoine François Prévost. It tells the tragic love story of a young woman, Manon, and her lover, Des Grieux. Manon is torn between her love for Des Grieux and her desire for a luxurious lifestyle, which leads her to abandon him for a wealthy old man, Geronte. In the end, Manon and Des Grieux reunite, but their happiness is short-lived as Manon is arrested and sentenced to death. The opera is known for its beautiful arias and duets, including Donna non vidi mai, In quelle trine morbide, and Tu, tu, amore? Tu? and is a staple of the operatic repertoire.


12. 5. 2023,

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