the meeting at Amiens of Manon, about to enter a convent, and of Des Grieux, destined for the church -- the love at first sight -- the idea of flight -- the flight itself -- then, the infidelity of Manon -- her desertion of Des Grieux -- her conquest of the old voluptuary, de G-- M-- (in the libretto, Geronte de Ravoir, treasurer-general) -- the plans and intrigues of Lescaut, her brother, the sergeant -- and, lastly, her return to her first love -- the attempt to escape -- and the failure of the attempt -- the arrest -- and the deportation of Manon.
Manon, that strange contrast of love, of coquetry, of venality, of vice; her brother Lescaut, the sergeant, who hopes to find by the help of his sister the means of satisfying all his low and depraved tastes; the rich old libertine, the first cause of Manon's fall; the Chevalier Des Grieux, always loving, always hoping, who, when the last illusion has been dispelled, becomes a cabin-boy on the ship that conveys Manon to America, thus following his love and his destiny. But inexorable fate pursues him: Manon and Des Grieux are forced by circumstances to take to an immediate, hurried flight, which results in one of the most pathetic dramatic episodes that can be imagined. In a desert plain, in an unknown country, in a deep solitude, in a vast wilderness -- the last farewell of the lovers -- all has been reproduced in the libretto with as much fidelity as was possible in a translation of the story from the narrative to the dramatic form.
contributed by Richard Bogart