The story of Manon Lescaut, set in the 1720s, has become part of the European imagination: she is the fun-loving woman who is irresistible to men, the ultimate 'good-time girl'. Of Massenet's many operas, she inspired the most popular one, and this ...
libretto shows the composer's minute attention to every nuance of sentiment which could bring the charcter and the period to life. There is hardly a line for which Massenet has not given a particular indication of expression of some sort. This guide opens with a general survey of Massenet's career by the distinguished French musicologist Gerard Conde, and includes two essays about this opera in particular. Professor Hugh Macdonald explores the subtle interplay of speech and song in Manon and Massenet's genius for comedy. Professor Vivienne Mylne traces the sources of Prevost's novel, setting it in the context of other eighteenth-century novels.