BYU School of Music presents “Manon” for the first time

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BYU’s School of Music will perform Jules Massenet’s tragic French opera “Manon” for the first time in BYU history.

The show opens on the de Jong Hall stage Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 and runs till Oct. 24. Evening performances on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 will stream live on the BYU School of Music’s website.

“Manon” tells the story of a young woman named Manon who, on her way to join a convent, meets a young man, Des Grieux, and instantly falls in love. The couple run off to Paris together. Manon is tempted by the promise of a life of luxury, which causes her to choose money over love. Later she regrets abandoning Des Grieux, but her desire for a lavish lifestyle and the jealousy of a slighted suitor ultimately lead to tragedy.

This five-act opera is double casted, each cast performing in one preview and two performances. Elisabeth Coleman, one of the singers playing Manon, said the acts are short and the play moves quickly.

“Opera gets a bad rap,” Coleman said. “People expect long high notes but it’s more than that. You can expect passion and a lot of emotion. I want people to be receptive to that.”

The singers will be accompanied by the BYU Philharmonic, conducted by Kory Katseanes. English subtitles will be provided for the audience members.

The director, Lawrence Vincent, who has direct opera at BYU for 18 years, said students have an opportunity to see an opera that is not done often.

“I believe everyone at BYU, both faculty, staff and students, should not leave without having experienced an opera,” Vincent said. “That should be on their university bucket list.”

Click here to read why the director and cast think opera is significant.

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