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Puccini - Manon Lescaut (2008)

Astrid Weber , Heiko Trinsinger  |  NR |  DVD
2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Astrid Weber, Heiko Trinsinger, Zurab Zurabishvili, Kouta Rsnen, Edward Randall
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Widescreen, Subtitled, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Dolby
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001F1YBLW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,452 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Astrid Weber, Heiko Trinsinger, Zurab Zurabishvili, and Kouta Rasanen star in this 2007 Chemnitz Opera House production of the Puccini opera conducted by Frank Beermann.

Customer Reviews

2.2 out of 5 stars
(4)
2.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bare Bones, Creaking a Bit October 31, 2008
Format:DVD
Puccini's beloved MANON LESCAUT is generally given a lace-valentine, sentimental production; here, the production team at Chemnitz substitutes a whole new set of opera cliches with their present mounting, to fairly tedious effect. There's a basic romanticism to this luscious material that the drabbest production can't completely kill, but director Ansgar Weigner certainly gives it the old college try. (Actually, I may be maligning him unfairly; there's a "conception" credit, whatever that might be, for one Dietrich Hilsdorf, who had the good sense to depart Chemnitz for happier climes somewhere along the way. There's a series of supplementary interviews on this dvd with personnel chiming in about this situation, and expounding on their various brilliant ideas; frankly, I wasn't impressed enough with the work on display to sit through any of them.) The singers are competent, if somewhat charmless. Astrid Weber acquits herself well-enough vocally, but looks lacquered and hard (what's with that soggy-potato-chip wig someone's thrust upon her?), and lacks the necessary girlish naivete; she's pragmatic from the git-go, which takes the edge off the final act. Speaking of which -- whose bright idea was it to present Puccini with a huggermugger escape for Manon and Des Grieux at the third act curtain? This confusing scuffle leads to the production's biggest groaner; the lovers don't make it to Louisiana, heading instead for their date with destiny deep inside a Paris sewer. Or subway platform. Or whatever -- some subterranean hellhole we've seen three dozen times before. The set's such a cliche, the viewer expects Jean Valjean or Patrice Chereau's Lulu to wander by. And -- hello???? Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A DESECRATION OF A MASTERPIECE March 14, 2009
Format:DVD
Ditto the two reviewers above. I just this moment finished viewing this mess, and though I am still reeling from the beauty of the music, I cannot forgive the production. The first act ensemble staging antics were embarrassing to watch. The second act was a jumbled mess. What was with the intoxicated singer in male drag? The third act was almost passable until the final moments when Manon became a murderess at the last moment!! And the last act was so flawed I don't even want to open that can of worms or I'll be here writing all night, and I have much better things to do. One other thing, I think our other two reviewers were much to kind as to the singing abilities of Des Grieux. His "money" notes for me were actually painful. They were unsupported and almost shouted. I still have a bit of a sore throat after hearing them.

I don't mean to be mean spirited - but, come on!! This, to me, is Puccini's masterpiece. To see it so boldly desecrated infuriates me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Traviata, Lulu, Manon. June 1, 2010
Format:DVD
This is the most original production of one of Puccini's best and certainly most complex for singing operas. It is a total opposite of another fabulous production of Manon Lescaut by The Flemish Opera conducted by Silvio Varviso, with Miriam Gauci in the title role and Antonio Ordonez as des Grieux. If The Flemish Opera made a Cinderella story, this one is ... Verdi's Traviata? Berg's Lulu? It is absolutely a fresh way to interpret this work like way, and to me very viable - Manon here is a beautiful, highly valued courtesan, and it is actually strange that it was not staged like Traviata or Lulu before.

The opera opens in some dusty provincial country tavern; in fact, anyone who has ever been to Amiens would smile to the verisimilitude of this décor to the actual heavy provincial atmosphere of that town. The timeline is probably around early 1930s - the movie "Cabaret" comes to mind. We see cynical, vulgar, tawdry crude crowd; the ugliness of these people is stressed by deliberately made repulsive local sex professionals. The spirit is of an angry impoverished crowd of petit bourgeoisie before WWII.

Amidst all the swinery suddenly Manon appears, incredibly elegant and powerfully captivating. Here one wonders if she is femme fatale, a Lulu. Her appearance is accompanied by thundering and ominous music. Puccini's genius at affecting emotions with his unique talent is here at full force already.

The singers are very good, but they are far from Mirella Freni and Placido Domingo ; yet this production makes them shine. Astrid Weber is expertly in both singing and acting; she plays an experienced courtesan. In her dialog with des Grieux "Vedete, Io son fedele" she is becoming a Violetta, mocking des Grieux (Alfredo) innocence and sincerity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I want my money back!!! January 14, 2009
Format:DVD
The previous reviewer has said it all, but in a much kinder way. This is a terrible perversion of Manon Lescaut. I can't think of anything as bad, except that awful M/22 Seraglio, but at least that was well staged and sung!!! I thought Astrid Weber was barely competent as a singer and a horrible actress. She displayed no innocence from the outset. On her way to a convent? Oh, come on! Geronte was played by Kouta Rasanen, who looks like he's barely old enough to vote. Zurab Zurabishvili, Des Grieux, would be okay as a concert singer, but his acting skills are poor. No one in the cast was the least bit likeable. The updated staging made the whole thing even more absurd. Does France still ship her harlots to Louisiana?

The only good thing I can say about this production is that Puccini's music was still excellent.
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