The performance was stunningly entertaining, a fabulous cast centered around the Latvian soprano Inessa Galante who was absolutely amazing on stage. With a flawless execution coupled with a large presence and passion she whirled through the emotions, from the giggly girl in Act I, to the bored but dazzled kept women in Act II to the sad but loving death scene in Act IV. She also manages to play a young women with sparkling chemistry together with Lars Cleveman as Des Greiux.
It is a quite sad opera which ends in tragedy, with a very divers musical score that contains a lot of what you will recognize from other Puccini operas. It builds up quite beautifully into the dramatic. That said I think that the diversity and relatively fast pace of the opera makes it suitable for people who haven't really attended an opera performance.
Incidentally, act I really reminded me of La Fanciulla del West with it's playful interaction between a large cast in a pub/inn like setting.
Thanks to the iTunes music store I quickly bought Puccini: Manon Lescaut by Maria Callas and could listen to it, soothing music for a lonely heart.
Performance: Manon Lescaut by Puccini
Stage: Royal Swedish Opera
Director: Knut Hendriksen
Conductor: Roland Böer
Cast: Inessa Galante as Manon Lescaut, Ander Larsson as Lescaut, Lars Cleveman as Chevalier Des Grieux, Sten Wahlund as Geronte de Ravoir