|Giacomo Antonio Puccini|
|Manon Lescaut Synopsis|
|Manon Lescaut Libretto|
|Previous scene:||E nulla nulla!|
|Next scene:||Fra le tue braccia, amore!|
Jonas Kaufmann as Des Grieux sings 'Donna non vidi mai' from Act I of Jonathan Kent's production of Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut, The Royal Opera, 2014. Find out more at
Puccini’s publisher tried to prevent him from adapting Abbé Prévost’s L’Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut – Massenet had already created a highly successful opera based on the novel. But Puccini was not to be dissuaded, claiming ‘a woman like Manon can have more than one lover’. Despite a troubled gestation (five librettists were engaged in the project), the premiere of Manon Lescaut in 1893 was Puccini’s first major triumph – a hit with critics and the public alike.
Puccini’s sumptuous, richly-coloured score is characterized by youthful vitality and filled with glorious melodies. Des Grieux expresses his passion for Manon in the Act I aria ‘Vedete? io son fedele’, lively dances evoke Manon’s luxurious life in Paris in Act II, while in the impassioned finale to Act III, ‘Pazza son!’, Des Grieux begs to be allowed to join the imprisoned Manon on her voyage to America. The opera culminates in Manon’s heartbreaking Act IV aria ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’, as she contemplates her impending death. Jonathan Kent's controversial new production for The Royal Opera, with a star-studded cast including Jonas Kaufmann as Des Grieux and Kristine Opolais as Manon, was The Royal Opera's first production in more than thirty years.
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Des Grieux adagia Manon sopra un rialzo di terreno, poi resta ancora irresoluto in preda a fiero contrasto. Indi s'allontana a poco a poco; giunto nel fondo rimane di nuovo dubbioso e fissa Manon con occhi disperati; quindi, con improvvisa risoluzione parte correndo. L'orizzonte si oscura. L'ambascia vince Manon; è stravolta, impaurita, accasciata.
Sola, perduta, abbandonata …
in landa desolata!
Orror! Intorno a me s'oscura il ciel …
Ahimè, son sola!
E nel profondo deserto io cado,
strazio crudel, ah! sola abbandonata,
io, la deserta donna!
Ah! non voglio morir!
No! non voglio morir!
Tutto dunque è finito.
Terra di pace mi sembrava questa …
Ahi! mia beltà funesta,
ire novelle accende …
Strappar da lui mi si volea; or tutto
il mio passato orribile risorge,
e vivo innanzi al guardo mio si posa.
Ah! di sangue s'è macchiato.
Ah! tutto è finito.
Asil di pace ora la tomba invoco …
No! non voglio morir … amore, aita!
Des Grieux places Manon on top of the ground, then he is still irresolute in a fierce contrast. Then he moves away little by little; in the background he remains doubtful again and stares at Manon with desperate eyes; then, with sudden resolution, he starts running. The horizon darkens. The ambassador wins Manon; it is twisted, frightened, slumped.
Lonely, lost, abandoned ...
in desolate land!
Horror! The sky is dark around me ...
Alas, I am alone!
And in the deep desert I fall,
cruel torture, ah! alone abandoned,
me, the deserted woman!
Ah! I do not want to die!
No! I do not want to die!
So everything is finished.
Land of peace seemed to me this ...
Ouch! my fateful beauty,
ire novelle turns on ...
He turned from me; or everything
my horrible past rises again,
and I live in front of my gaze and settles.
Ah! of blood he has stained himself.
Ah! everything is finished.
Asil of peace now the grave invokes ...
No! I do not want to die ... love, aita!