Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Friday, 4 March 2016

Manon Lescaut. By Puccini.

English: Postcard is from the poster printed by Ricordi
at the premiere of Manon Lescaut, by Giacomo Puccini , on 1 February 1893.
Italiano: Cartolina tratta dalla locandina stampata da Ricordi in occasione
della prima assoluta di Manon Lescaut di Giacomo Puccini, il 1° febbraio 1893.
Source: Teatro Regio di Torino, programma di sala di Manon Lescaut, stagione 2005-2006.
Author: Vespasiano Bignami (1841-1929).
(Wikimedia Commons)

As a light relief to Lenten mortification, tomorrow afternoon Zephyrinus will be attending a Live Feed Cinema performance, from The New York Met, of Puccini's Manon Lescaut.

Preceded by a very long Lunch at a First-Class Restaurant.

Manon Lescaut is an Opera in Four Acts by Giacomo Puccini, composed between 1890 and 1893. The story is based on the 1731 novel L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut, by the Abbé Prévost, and should not be confused with Manon, an 1884 Opera by Jules Massenet, based on the same novel.

The Libretto is in Italian, and was cobbled together by five Librettists whom Puccini employed: Ruggero Leoncavallo; Marco Praga; Giuseppe Giacosa; Domenico Oliva; and Luigi Illica. The publisher, Giulio Ricordi, and the composer also contributed to the book. So confused was the authorship of the book, that no one was credited on the Title Page of the original Score. However, it was Illica and Giacosa who completed the Libretto and went on to contribute to the booklet about Puccini's next three (and most successful) works, La Bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly.

Puccini took some musical elements in Manon Lescaut from earlier works he had written. For example, the Madrigal, "On the Summit of the Mountain", from Act II, echoes "The Agnus Dei" from his 1880 Mass for Four Voices. Other elements of Manon Lescaut come from his compositions for Strings: The Quartet Chrysanthemums (January 1890); Three Menuets (probably 1884); and a Scherzo (1883?). The Love Theme comes from the Air Mentia Notice (1883).

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