Giacomo Puccini

Manon Lescaut

Feb 12 - Mar 11

Soprano Kristine Opolais and tenor Roberto Alagna join forces in Puccini’s obsessive love story. Opolais sings the title role of the country girl who transforms herself into a Parisian temptress, while Alagna is the dashing student who desperately woos her. Director Richard Eyre places the action in occupied France in a film noir setting. “Desperate passion” is the phrase Puccini himself used to describe the opera that confirmed his position as the preeminent Italian opera composer of his day. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads the stirring score.

Production a gift of Helen and Bengt Agerup and Rolex

Co-production of the Metropolitan Opera and Festival Hall Baden-Baden

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 2 hrs 58 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 35 mins
  • Intermission 28 mins
  • Act II 40 mins
  • Intermission 25 mins
  • Act III 50 mins
  • Opera Ends
New Production Feb 12 - Mar 11

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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A scene from Manon Lescaut

World premiere: Teatro Regio, Turin, 1893. Met premiere: January 18, 1907. Few operas have surpassed Manon Lescaut in the depiction of the urgency of young love. The French tale of a beautiful young woman destroyed by her conflicting needs for love and luxury had already inspired Massenet’s Manon (1884), a relatively new and immensely popular work at the time of Manon Lescaut’s premiere. Puccini made the story his own and infused it with a new level of frank emotion and a flood of melody. The opera was his first great success, leading George Bernard Shaw to name him “the successor to Verdi.”


Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) was immensely popular in his own lifetime, and his mature works remain staples in the repertory of most of the world’s opera companies. Writing the libretto for Manon Lescaut was a laborious process, in which a number of people were involved, including journalist Domenico Oliva, novelist and playwright Marco Praga, playwright Giuseppe Giacosa and poet Luigi Illica (both would later collaborate with Puccini on La Bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly), fellow composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, and Puccini’s publisher, Giulio Ricordi.

Production Sir Richard Eyre

Set Designer Rob Howell

Costume Designer Fotini Dimou

Lighting Designer Peter Mumford

Choreographer Sara Erde

Revival Stage Director Paula Williams

Giacomo Puccini


Giacomo Puccini


A scene from Manon Lescaut

The first three acts of the opera take place in various locations in France, around the year 1720: the first in the town of Amiens, the second in a magnificent palace in Paris, and the third on the waterfront of the port city of Le Havre. The fourth act is set in a desolate location in the New World, an imaginary place described in the libretto as “a vast desert near the outskirts of New Orleans.” Richard Eyre’s new production moves the action to the 1940s.


The work that thrust Puccini onto the international stage as Italy’s foremost opera composer, Manon Lescaut is built on lessons learned from Richard Wagner, translated into a thoroughly Italian, full-blooded thrill ride. The title character grows from a bored and pouty youth in Act II’s elegant and self-pitying aria “In quelle trine morbide” into a fully realized adult facing untimely death in Act IV’s shatteringly dramatic “Sola, perduta, abbandonata.” The orchestra plays a prominent role in propelling the action—the waves of sound during the powerful Act II love duet are among the most blatantly erotic in opera.

Met History

Manon Lescaut had been absent from the Met repertoire for 20 years when a new production starring Dorothy Kirsten and Jussi Björling premiered in 1949. Kirsten’s distinguished career with the company would continue for several decades. She is seen here as Manon Lescaut in 1974–75, her penultimate Met season.

A scene from Manon Lescaut