The Australian Ballet provides a luscious feast for the senses with this season’s production of Manon, choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan.
Manon (Leanne Stojmenov) falls in love with the student des Grieux (Daniel Gaudiello) while her brother Lescaut (Chengwu Guo) attempts to sell her to the pig-headed Monsieur GM (Matthew Donnelly).
What ensues is a dark tale involving murder and rape, brightened by cheerfully comedic acting and footwork by Guo, as he portrays a drunken Lescaut. Ako Kondo is expertly paired with Guo as Lescaut’s mistress, her disciplined form and enthusiasm evident whenever onstage.
While originally lacking chemistry during key scenes, Stojmenov and Gaudiello eventually convince they are a young couple in love.
Sets are incredibly detailed, coupled with clever use of lighting. Costumes are lavish and represent early 18th century Paris effectively.
Nicolette Fraillon masterfully conducts the orchestra as it performs Jules Massenet’s romantic score, successfully capturing the tragedy and drama confronting Manon. (LD)
Until Apr 23, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, $36-224, sydneyoperahouse.com