Photo Credit: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera ChicagoPhoto Credit: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera Chicago


The Sunday Times, October 19, 2008
Hugh Canning
Manon, Chicago, September/October 2008
Finally, a brief word about another ENO show on its rounds around the world. David McVicar’s grungy, down-at-heel staging of Massenet’s Manon may not have endured in St Martin’s Lane, but it has succeeded on the road with starrier casts. Last summer, it was filmed in Barcelona with Natalie Dessay and Rolando Villazon, and I caught it, again with Dessay, but this time with Jonas Kaufmann as her infatuated beau, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. They make an ideal pair physically — just over and just under 40, they convince as teenagers in the opening scene — and vocally they are simply today’s dream cast. The soprano musters all the reserves of her characteristically French, silvery tone and her glittering technical armoury in the cavernous but singer-friendly Civic Opera House, while the tenor draws the listener in with his dreamy pianissimo singing and thrills with his visceral, passionate top notes. Covent Garden has a Manon scheduled for Anna Netrebko and Villazon. Let’s hope they book Dessay and Kaufmann for the revival.
Photo Credit: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera Chicago

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