Manon Lescaut

A Lyric Drama in Four Acts
English version by

Mowbray Marras

Music by

Giacomo Puccini

The adventures of the Chevalier Des Grieux, told in that remarkable work of the Abbé Prévost, entitled Manon Lescaut -- adventures so strange, yet so humanly true -- must necessarily be described within narrow limits in an adaptation for the stage. But the principal features and the characters which belong to the actual plot of the story have been retained in their entirety,

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.

Thus also:
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.

Dramatis Personae

Manon Lescaut
Lescaut, Sergeant of the King's guards
The Chevalier Des Grieux
Geronte de Ravoir, Treasurer general
Edmondo, a student
The Innkeeper
A Singer
The Dancing Master
A Lamplighter
Sergeant of the Royal Archers
A Captain in the Navy
The Hair Dresser

Singers - Old Beaus and Abbés
Girls, Citizens, Villagers, Students, People

Courtezans - Archers - Sailors

Period -- Second half of the Eighteenth Century.

Notes on the Text

contributed by Richard Bogart

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29 Nov 2005