Last night I had a theatrical experience that could almost be described as transcendental. The Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera House Orchestra whisked me away into two hours of bliss with their production of Manon. I had never heard or seen this ballet before. Massenet’s score is moving, melodic and exquisite. I bought a copy immediately after the production and have had it on my ipod constantly these last 24 hrs.
As the score and dancers soar you are taken on this tragic journey or life, death, love and lust. I was literally speechless at the end and had to wipe away the tears from my eyes, it was just beautiful. I can’t really describe why it affected me so profoundly, but it did.
Lauren Cuthbertson was Manon and amazed me with her dancing. This ballet requires her to make her body do things that just look impossible. She was elegant, saucy, troubled and majestic. Bravo! Sergie Polunin as her lover Des Grieux was a perfect partner to Manon, he danced with vigor, poise and power. His final dance with Manon was so touching.
Martin Yates conducted the orchestra and as I said this is a beautiful score, from its opening tender bars to the fun and frolics of Act 2 to the tragedy of Act 3, the sumptuous sounds filled the Royal Opera House. you just can’t beat hearing a live orchestra.
I’ve had a great year theatrically, but I think when I look back at 2011, in the near and distant future, this will be one of my most precious theatrical memories. As and when it’s back on at the ROH, I shall make it top of my list to see, hear and delight in once more. For now the music and memories will take me to that magical place I was at last night.
STARS : * * * * *