Premiere of "Manon" of Jules Massenet lyrical opera takes place in Yerevan

11/10/2018 12:42

Premiere of "Manon" of Jules Massenet lyrical opera takes place in Yerevan


On October 7 the premiere of the lyrical opera "Manon" of Jules Massenet took place at the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet named after A. Spendiaryan. Theater artists, choir and orchestra "told" the love story of chevalier De Grieux and the beauty of Manon Lescaut through music. Conductor Christopher Ocasek, with his hands’ balance and musicality, managed to transmit Massenet's phenomenal melody, which was apparently absorbed in the whole musical work.

On the eve of the Francophone Days, when the atmosphere of French “is dominated” throughout Armenia, this premiere was the best tribute to the French classic art, as there was a composer's work on the stage, who continuing the traditions of Gounod and Bize, thanks to his musical melody, was able to become the brightest star in the French musical dome, a composer, whose incomparable talent and endowment in the opera genre, was able to secure his tremendous success in music theaters of France and throughout Europe.

After his first performance (1884, Paris, Opéra-Comique), the opera "Manon" started a triumph that was staged about 1000 times during the life of the composer. And now, due to the extensive work of Constantin Orbelyan, the artistic director of the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet named after A. Spendiaryan, this time "Manon" stop was Armenia. Our theater presented an opera, the literary basis was of which was the novel of Abbat Prevé's "History of chevalier des Grieux et Manon Lescaut" (1731), the real love story, which was considered the most popular and demanded literary work of its time.

The French reader liked this novel so much that it also became the basis of Ober’s Ballet, the literary basis of Puccini’s opera, and the name of Manon became one of the symbols of France.



The most prominent work of the French composers, where the French gaulian style, the naturalistic and impressionist elements were combined, was enthusiastically accepted by the Armenian society. Audience response exceeded all expectations. The magnificent sounds of the artists, the balanced and emotional music of the orchestra, the French colorful play, and of course the incomparable music were merged with each other and created an atmosphere where the audience could not control their emotions. The wet eyes and stormy greetings were the assessment that the audience could convey to the stage from the hall. The opera’s libretto, designed by A. Melyak and F. Jill developed the plot on a wider, diverse and juicy background. At the heart of the Opera, the urban life of Paris is the real life of people of different social backgrounds, at the heart of which is the love story of two loving couples.

The director was Andrejs Zagars, the famous Latvian director, who moved the opera from the 18th century to the 60s of the 20th Century, so what was happening on the stage reminded the well-known urban life of France with its bohemian lifestyle.

It was very impressive to see how the diector managed to create the intolerable passion and subtle love of poetic love in one work. The scenes that characterized the French life were presented with the literary accuracy, while the details and clothing reminded a genuine delicate Frenchman: lacquered shoes, great hats and wigs, French style makeup.

Like any melodram, “Manon” also demanded from the director scenes and action contrasts: from the hotel to the noisy street in Paris, from the San Sulpis Church to the casino, and here are in these opposite and different scenes it was necessary to create dramatic and musical harmony that was possible through the joint efforts of various specialists in one commonality. The director's biggest demand was to be convincing. With many years of experience, Andrejs Zagars worked with opera singers by Stanislavsky's actor method, which had broken all stereotypes and had brought a realistic dramatic artistic realistic game to opera. The demands from the artists were great, not only the excellent knowledge of the score, but also epochs and symbols were needed.



Christina Pasteurnak found dress solutions so that the choir and soloists of the actors suit the high style of Coco Chanel and Dior. The special elegance was selected for Manon costume, which suit the collection of If Sen-Loran's. The fashion of the 60s, the era of full freedom, love and infinite happiness was possible to convey from the hall, and most importantly, that delicate aroma of Paris, the taste of the 60s, was also felt in the hall. The audience believed the heroes, believed in their relationship, suffered, loved and enjoyed it.

Mary Movsisyan, who embodies Manon's image, admired the audience with her cantiline singing. Especially impressive was the Manon’s cord in the third act, where both the artistic and the singing part of her image were most obvious. Manon, being the main form of expression of her emotion, went through the whole opera as a red thread and expressed her suffering and love. The young soprano was able to create dramaturgy of his character: the innocence at the beginning and the tragic at the end.

Liparit Avetisyan, being almost the same age as Des Grieux felt just as good his feelings as he did: his hopes, doubts, passion, and enthusiasm. His voice, with his cantilene and a fervent sensuality, complied with all the requirements of the composer's melodrama. His voice was as impressive as his image, it was in harmony with all its aspects. And De Grieux father, Le Conte De Grieux Hayk Tigranyan, surprised the audience with his rich voice, in the timbre of his character, special nobility, majesty, ambition, which in no way could not make concessions. The singer was able to create a true image of a father of a noble family with professional singing and artisticism, whose surprise was so great that he saw his son in a "wrong" environment and in a non-family environment, but there was no pardon because the society would not let it. Kim Sarkisian, who embodies Lesco, managed to create a gambling and charismatic character with his soft baritone. His singing included professionalism, music and lyrical melodrama traditions.

Ashot Ghantarjyan, who embodied the image of Bretini, was able to deliver it correctly and literately, to sing in Massnets style, preserving the 19th century vocal traditions.



All the opera actors such as Ruben Nurijanyan, Sofya Baghdasaryan, Tamara Dadoyan, Greta Bagiyan, Khachik Bekyan, were able to convey to us the most famous French work, all of them were professional, they all were in the right way.

French music of the 19th century cannot be part of the conversational segments - retichetives in which music was played, which provided a real picture of melodrama. And the singers spoke and sang correctly in French at the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet named after A. Spendiaryan. And that was the result of Serine Tadevosyan, who had done a great deal of language work with singers during which all the secrets of the French language were revealed. A vocal famous professional coach Axel Everart worked with all the vocal traditions, singing technique and French style nuances. The work done was enormous.

Today due to Constantin Orbelian, the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet named after A. Spendiaryan has global level presentations, because, thanks to his tremendous efforts and indescribable work, our singers today enjoy the fruits of their work, the love and warmth of the audience.

Author: Armine Tigranyan, Culturologist

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