Great Production, Poor Video
Z. Yang | Hockessin, DE USA | 01/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""A woman like Manon can have more than one lover", this is a statement made by Puccini when he decided to write his opera of "Manon", facing the already universally successful "Manon" by his French predecessor Massenet. Distinctively, he brought out his Manon with innocence, vanity, and cupidity, and Des Grieux, Manon's passionate lover, with Italian blood.
There is an abrupt jump from Act I to Act II, which may result in discontinuity of Manon's characters, as well as her love to Des Grieux. But as it goes on and as Puccini's music gets more deeply into the agony of the lovers, it gets better. In Act III the emotion has reached its hilt when Des Grieux sings his desperate pleading "Guardate, pazzo son", begging the captain to let him aboard with Manon. The strong dramatics then carries on and gets intensified in Act IV, and ends on Manon's tragic death and Des Grieux's helpless sobbing.
Soprano Reneta Scott, who sings Manon, is impressive in singing. Giving the best performance in Act IV, she is amazing in her vocal power, in forte or in piano. But portraying an eighteen-year-old character, Scott needs more than she could in order to be convincing. She delivers Manon with accuracy, if not vividness.
Although it is the story of Manon, on the stage of Met shines the brilliant Des Grieux, played by Domingo. His voice is lighter and brighter, and yet, more expressive, and his big outbursts are wallop. He looks young and lean, and his acting is full of feeling. Act IV is purely Pucinni with great intensity. Domingo portrays desperation and rage brilliantly. His sobbing is heartbreaking.
One big problem with this DVD is its video and audio quality. Almost every motion on the screen has a ghost tail following behind, somewhat distracting, and at times, annoying. The audio is not as bad as video, but just acceptable. What a pity that this production couldn't be caught on camera with the same sharpness as the opera itself!"
G. Golding | Seattle, WA | 11/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite opera production. I consider it to be one of the greatest ever (as did Domingo). Occasionally there is a camera problem, but it's minor. This is a sexy opera and the stars give it right back to us. Yes, I prefer Freni (my goddess) than Scotto, but Scotto makes up her vocal shrillness with her incredible acting. This is a must see for Manon lovers and I can't wait to see it next year live at Seattle Opera.
Renata Scotto is wonderful!
ravennamoon | Naples, Italy | 11/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have recently been on a "Manon Lescaut" kick--having watched this
version of the opera, the Kiri/Domingo version, and the recent Met
production starring Karita Mattila.
I watched Renata Scotto in this dvd of the opera last night and just
loved it! She was a WONDERFUL Manon--the entire Act II was especially
enjoyable, as was Act IV. Scotto is a great actress, as well as having
a beautiful voice, and she seemed to really sink her teeth into the part.
For me, this performance was equal, though different, from the Kiri Te Kanawa "Manon Lescaut". It is true, Kiri and Placido Domingo had lots
of chemistry! They are awesome together. That is a hard performance to
top. But Renata Scotto's portrayal was so much fun, I think I enjoyed it
just as much. Maybe the Kiri version is slightly more romantic.
(I would mention that for me the Mattila/Giordani MET performance was
sadly disappointing. No sparks there. And some less than shimmering
vocals as well, at times.)
I highly recommend this Renata Scotto "Manon Lescaut". You will love the
singing, the passionate performances of all the singers, even the beautiful sets and costumes. All perfection."