Katherine indulges in French Romanticism this week, with a survey of favourite Massenet recordings.
Following the artistic and commercial success of their last DVD project, La Traviata from the 2005 Salzburg Festival, opera superstars Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón bring their combined talents to Jules Massenet’s Manon. Netrebko was born to play the title role: her voice and body language capturing the fluctuating personality of the complex Manon, one minute girlish, the next introspective. “She is a real stage animal, constantly reacting to what is happening around her”, wrote Opera of her performance. Villazón is compelling as Des Grieux, expressing all the burning passion of the doomed lover in his burnished, supple tenor.
This is a production with a distinct Hollywood touch: first-time opera director Vincent Paterson has previously worked with Madonna, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney and staged several Broadway musicals. He has already enjoyed great success with his first classical DVD project for DG: The Woman – The Voice featuring Anna Netrebko.
Given his show-business background, Paterson interprets Manon as a Hollywood cinematic tale for the opera stage with Massenet’s colourful music as a kind of soundtrack. The press raved about the opera event of the year in Berlin, while the live public screening of one of the performances in the square in front of the opera house attracted an audience of more than 20,000 people. Musically, the production is equally accomplished.
This is a Manon that will appeal across the spectrum: to lovers of opera, movies and Hollywood. A glittering production filled with beautiful people with gorgeous voices!
Additional features: Produced in HD, length 170 min., to be released in NTSC 16:9 widescreen; audio is in 5.1 DTS surround sound & PCM stereo. Bonus: “The Making of Manon” (20 min., in stereo sound only).