From "dream team" of the opera stage to "dream team" of classic and pop -
Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón have long since conquered the entire
world of music. Yet while their CD "Duets" ranked third on the pop charts,
the opera stage remains their preferred venue. And in Jules Massenet's
"Manon," they have found a drama worthy of their combined talents.
Manon, the tragic heroine of Massenet's work, is torn between
flirtatiousness and profound love, between frivolity and deep commitment.
Netrebko seems predestined for this role, with her body language
alternating between girlish, introspective and carefree, and her voice
radiating brilliance, warmth, mystery and longing. As the impoverished
young nobleman Des Grieux, Rolando Villazón compellingly depicts the
burning passion of an ultimately doomed lover with his glowing, supple,
slender tenor voice.
The glittering production's distinctly Hollywood touch is due to director
Vincent Paterson, who makes his operatic debut with "Manon." Paterson knows
what stars want: he worked his way up from dancer to director of music
video clips and internationally renowned choreographer who has worked with
Madonna, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, and staged several Broadway
musicals. He also worked on films such as "Dancer in the Dark," "Evita" and
"The Birdcage." Paterson sees "Manon" as a cinematic tale for the opera
stage, Massenet's colorful music as a kind of film soundtrack. This is why
he put the accent clearly on glamour.
Barenboim infuses the appealing melodies with color, and is finely attuned
to the emotional fragility that they express." (Süddeutsche Zeitung,
2 May 2007) As befits an event of such dimensions, one of the performances
of the opera was projected on 70-square-meter screen on a major Berlin
square in front of 20,000 people. This is a "Manon" which appeals clear
across the board to lovers of opera, movies, Broadway shows and beautiful
people with gorgeous voices!