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Ah! des Grieux

Opera details:

Opera title:



Jules Massenet




Manon Synopsis


Manon Libretto


English Deutsch

Duet details:




Manon Lescaut / Le Chevalier des Grieux


Soprano / Tenor



Previous scene: Capitaine o gue es tu fatigué
Next scene: Qu'ai je a te pardonner

Giuseppe Di Stefano; "Ah! Des Grieux"; MANON; Jules Massenet

Singer(s): Maria Callas Giuseppe Di Stefano Mafalda Favero Tito Gobbi Mariano Stabile

Giuseppe Di Stefano--tenor
Mafalda Favero-soprano
Antonio Guarnieri--conductor
Orchestra dell Teatro alla Scala
"Born into a poor family at Motta Sant’Anastasia near Catania in Sicily, Giuseppe Di Stefano entered a seminary in 1934. After three years, a fellow student encouraged him to take singing lessons and he subsequently became a pupil of Luigi Montesanto and Mariano Stabile, who emphasized the importance of clear diction. In 1938 Di Stefano won a singing competition in Florence but his career was interrupted briefly by the outbreak of war in 1939. He was conscripted into the Italian army, but being seen as of greater value as a singer than a soldier, he was discharged and earned a precarious living as a singer of popular songs in Milan, performing under the name of Nino Florio. Following the German defeat in Italy, Di Stefano escaped to Switzerland, where he was briefly interned before being taken up as a tenor by Radio Lausanne. Here his repertoire extended from popular songs to complete operas.

After the end of the war, Di Stefano returned to Italy and made his official stage debut in 1946 at Reggio Emilia as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon. In 1947 he took the same role at La Scala, Milan, where he enjoyed immediate success. His American debut came in 1948 as the Duke in Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York and was quickly followed by appearances in Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Di Stefano soon became one of the most sought-after tenors of his generation. Until 1953 he sang lighter roles, such as Elvino / La sonnambula, Fritz / L’amico Fritz, Nadir / Les Pêcheurs des Perles and Wilhelm Meister / Mignon; with these he enjoyed great success as a result of his warm tone, expressive phrasing and lively personality. His singing of traditional Neapolitan songs also demonstrated his talents superbly. During the early 1950s he was a favourite singer at La Scala and the Met, although his cavalier attitude towards contracts caused him to be barred from the latter by Rudolf Bing between April 1952 and December 1955.

For Walter Legge and the UK Columbia label Di Stefano took part in numerous recordings made with the forces of La Scala. The most famous of these was Puccini’s Tosca, conducted by Victor De Sabata, with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi (with both of whom Di Stefano sang frequently). Other distinguished recorded assumptions from this period included the Duke and Arturo / I puritani, both again with Callas, conducted by Tullio Serafin.

By 1957 Di Stefano had added Canio / Pagliacci, Don Alvaro / La forza del destino, Don José / Carmen, Osaka / Iris, Radamès / Aida and Turiddù / Cavalleria rusticana to his repertoire. He made his British debut in 1957 as a member of the La Scala ensemble that visited the Edinburgh Festival, singing one of his most famous roles, Nemorino / L’elisir d’amore (a part he also recorded for Decca). In the same year he and Callas opened the 1957–1958 season at La Scala with an account of Un ballo in maschera which is one of the most intense ever to have been committed to disc, officially or unofficially. The assumption of heavier parts during the latter part of the 1950s, however, caused Di Stefano’s singing to become more effortful; and by the time of his 1961 first appearance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (in Tosca), time and good living had also begun to take their toll, exposing technical weaknesses in his voice-production.

Di Stefano’s last appearance at La Scala was in 1972 with Carmen, after which he undertook some less than wholly successful recitals with Callas. He made his final stage appearance with the Rome Opera in 1992 as the Emperor Altoum in Turandot.

In addition to his operatic repertoire, Di Stefano was a highly accomplished singer of lighter music. He enjoyed success in operetta, recording the role of Prince Sou-Chong in highlights from Lehár’s Das Land des Lächelns with the forces of the Volksoper in Vienna.

Despite his personal unpredictability, Di Stefano at his best ideally matched tonal warmth with dramatic conviction, and his many studio and live recordings represent a remarkable testimony to his art."Naxos

Watch videos with other singers performing Ah! des Grieux:

Jules Massenet MANON Ah fuyez douce image Roberto Alagna 26273
5 - Roberto Alagna
Manon Act 5 Scene 5 Ah Des Grieux O Manon Manon Des Grieux 146381
1 - Angela Gheorghiu
5 - Roberto Alagna

Manon Act V Ah Des Grieux O Manon 146384
1 - Anna Moffo
5 - Giuseppe Di Stefano
Massenet Manon Final Scene Giacinto Prandelli Rosanna Carteri Gui 1952 258136
1 - Rosanna Carteri
5 - Giacinto Prandelli

Rosanna Carteri Nicola Filacuridi Ah Des Grieux Manon 146382
1 - Rosanna Carteri
5 - Nicola Filacuridi
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1 - Renée Doria
5 - Alain Vanzo

Manon Excerpts Sung in Italian Ah Des Grieux Live 258138
1 - Mafalda Favero
5 - Giuseppe Di Stefano

Manon Act IV Ah Des Grieux O Manon 146385
1 - Victoria de los Ángeles
5 - Henri Legay

Manon Acto IV Cuadro II Ah Des Grieux Riandremo in bel passato  146389
1 - Mirella Freni
5 - Luciano Pavarotti
Manon Act V Ah Des Grieux 146387
1 - Victoria de los Ángeles
5 - Cesare Valletti

Manon Act I Scene 8 Ah Parlezmoi Duo Nous vivrons Paris Des Grieux Manon 257225
1 - Emma Luart
5 - Charles Friant
Manon Act V Sung in Italian Ah Des Grieux Live 258142
1 - Victoria de los Ángeles
5 - Ferruccio Tagliavini

Jonas Kaufmann Manon Ah fuyez douces images LIVE Chicago 2008 26259
5 - Jonas Kaufmann
6 - Craig Irvin
Anna Netrebko Ah des Grieux O Manon 146377
1 - Anna Netrebko

Richard Verreau Ah fuyez douce image Massenet 26257
5 - Richard Verreau
Renee Fleming Manon Massenet Ah Des Grieux 27310
1 - Renée Fleming

CESAR VEZZANI e JEANNE GUYLA Manon Ah Des Grieux Mort de Manon 1932 146380
5 - César Vezzani
Massenet Manon Ah fuyez douce image Dmitri Smirnov 1929 96395
5 - Dmitri Smirnov

ALFREDO KRAUS J Massenet Manon Ah fuyez douce image Chicago 1983 257767
5 - Alfredo Kraus
Manon Ah des grieux O manon  146386
5 - Plácido Domingo

Manon Act V Act V Ah Des Grieux O Manon Tu pleures Manon Des Grieux 146388
1 - Annick Massis

Manon Act I Ah parlezmoi Des Grieux Manon Poussette Javotte Rosette Lescaut 201843
1 - Teresa Stratas
1 - Victoria de los Ángeles
2 - Joan Wall
5 - Alessio De Paolis
5 - Nicolai Gedda
6 - George Cehanovsky

Manon Ah Des Grieux  146391
1 - Renée Fleming
5 - Marcelo Álvarez
5 - Michel Sénéchal
6 - Franck Ferrari
6 - Jean-Luc Chaignaud
Manon Act V Ah Je sens une pure flame Manon Des Grieux 146392
1 - Liliane Berton
1 - Victoria de los Ángeles
5 - Henri Legay
5 - René Hérent
6 - Jean Borthayre
6 - Jean Vieuille
6 - Michel Dens

Manon Act V Act V Ah Des Grieux Manon 146393
1 - Bidu Sayão
5 - Charles Kullman
6 - John Brownlee
Giuseppe Di Stefano Ah Des Grieux MANON Jules Massenet 258139
1 - Mafalda Favero
1 - Maria Callas
5 - Giuseppe Di Stefano
6 - Mariano Stabile
6 - Tito Gobbi


(elle pousse un cri de joie en voyant Des Grieux)
Ah! Des Grieux!

(avec ivresse)
O Manon!
(presque sans voix)

Manon! Manon!
(avec émotion)
Tu pleures!

Oui... de honte sur moi;
Mais de douleur sur toi!

Lève la tête et ne songe qu'aux heures
D'un bonheur qui revient!

(avec amertume)
Ah! pourquoi me tromper?

Non, ces terres lointaines,
Dont ils te menaçaient,
Tu ne les verras pas!
Nous fuirons tous les deux!
Au delà de ces plaines
Nous porterons nos pas!

(Silence de Manon)
(avec affection)

Manon, réponds-moi donc!

(avec une tendresse infinie; en cédant)
Seul amour de mon âme!
Je ne sais qu'aujourd'hui la bonté de ton coeur,
Et si bas qu'elle soit, hélas!
Manon réclame
Pardon, pitié pour son erreur!

(Des Grieux veut l'interrompre)
Non! non! encor!
Mon coeur fût léger et volage
Et, même en vous aimant

(très accentué)
J'étais ingrate!

Ah! pourquoi ce langage?

Et je ne puis m'imaginer
Comment... et par quelle folie...
J'ai pu vous chagriner
Un seul jour de ma vie!

(avec effusion)

(tout en larmes)
Je hais et maudis en pensant
A ces douces amours par ma faute brisées,
Et je ne paierais pas assez de tout mon sang
La moitié des douleurs que je vous ai causées!

(comme étouffée par les sanglots)
Ah! pardonnez-moi!

English Libretto or Translation:

(with a joyful cry).
Ah, Des Grieux !

(with delirious gladness).
Oh, Manon, Manon, Manon!
(Checking himself).
Thou weepest!

Yes ; with shame for myself, but with sorrow for thee.

Manon, be of good heart, dear love. Think of the happy hours that remain for us both.

Ah! ! sweet deceiving vision.

No ; those far-away countries, where they would drag thee now, thou shalt never see. Both together we'll fly to a place of sweet rest, where trouble may not come.
(Ma— non remains silent).
Manon, wilt thou not speak?

(with infinite tenderness).
Oh my heart's only love ; only now do I feel all thy goodness of soul, and, though fallen so low, Manon craves pity and pardon for all her sins.
(Des Grieux tries to interrupt her. )
No, no; I must speak. Ah! Careless was I and light-hearted ; even in loving thee beyond compare, most ungrateful.

Love, cease these reproaches.

Vainly I bid my wicked heart say why by what excess of madness I have given thee pain on one day of my wasted life.


With remorse and contempt I am filled when I think of our love, by my own act destroyed. Ah! ! would that I could now atone with all my blood for but one of the griefs thou hast endured through me ! Pardon Manon ! Oh, pardon Manon !

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