• Manon Lescaut Performance Activities

Supporting Students During The Met: Live in HD Transmissions

Thanks to print and audio recording, much about opera can be enjoyed long before a performance. But performance itself remains an incomparable embarrassment of riches—sound and color, pageantry and technology, drama, skill, and craft. Performance activities are designed to help students tease apart different aspects of the experience, consider creative choices that have been made, and sharpen their own critical faculties.

Each activity incorporates a reproducible activity sheet (links below). Students bring the activity sheet to the transmission for filling out during intermission and/or after the final curtain. The activities direct attention to characteristics of the production that might otherwise go unnoticed. Ratings matrices invite students to express their critique, a time-tested prompt for careful thinking.

My Highs & Lows

The basic activity sheet is called My Highs & Lows. Meant to be collected, opera by opera, over the course of the season, this sheet points students toward a consistent set of objects of observation. Its purposes are not only to help students articulate and express their opinions, but to support comparison and contrast, enriching understanding of the art form as a whole.

At the Met: The Name Game

For Manon Lescaut, the other activity sheet "The Name Game" directs students’ attention to an interesting aspect of the libretto: the way the two main characters refer to each other. As students will discover, des Grieux calls his lover “Manon” literally dozens of times. Manon uses his name only once! The use of names and terms of endearment can be of great interest to adolescents. In this case, it can help maintain focused attention during a rather long performance in a foreign tongue.