Royal Ballet: Manon12A

Royal Ballet: Manon

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Kenneth MacMillan’s tragic and romantic ballet Manon will be broadcast live in cinemas on Thursday 3 May at 7.15pm

A firm favourite in The Royal Ballet repertory, Manon depicts the powerful and obsessive love between Des Grieux (Vadim Muntagirov) and Manon (Sarah Lamb), who, when they first meet, is being sold off to the highest bidder by her brother Lescaut (Ryoichi Hirano). Des Grieux and Manon elope to Paris but she is seduced by Monsieur G.M (Gary Avis) who entices her to leave her lover for a life of luxury as a kept woman. Encouraged by Lescaut, Des Grieux cheats at cards in a desperate attempt to win Monsieur G.M’s fortune from him, but is caught. Des Grieux and Manon escape to Manon’s apartment where Monsieur G.M. finds them. Manon is arrested for prostitution. In a dramatic final act set in New Orleans (where Manon has been deported), Des Grieux saves Manon from the sexual advances of her Gaoler and the pair escape. But Manon is now exhausted and ill, and in the heart-breaking final scene she dies in Des Grieux’s arms in the Louisiana wilderness.

The ballet was choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan, who took inspiration from the bestselling novel by the 18th-century writer Abbé Prévost. MacMillan perfectly captures Manon’s conflict between her love for Des Grieux and her need for luxury, and uses the whole Company to create a complex portrait of Parisian high life and the squalor of a New Orleans penal colony. The ballet’s score is made up of music by Massenet, including his famous Elégie as the theme for the lovers.