In ABT's Manon, which finishes its run as part of the season at the Met Opera tonight, the controversial French novel is brought to life through dance, showing one of choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan's ballet that features romance, prostitutes, sword fights, death, and emotionally devastating ending.
Manon, who can appreciate a life of luxury, finds herself at the aid of her brother, Lescaut, who pairs women with men in the hopes of financial reward. And the man who sets his sights on her is Monsieur G.M., who can not only provide the riches that she desires but has a relatively creepy foot fetish. However, she falls in love with a bookish young student named Des Grieux, and the two run off together and declare their love for one another.
Like many ballets, it does not end happily and the subject matter is not very funny, save for a drunken dance from Lescaut and his mistress. It is a tragedy that exudes both passion and action, while tearing at the heartstrings of every person in the audience.
With a rotating cast of dancers, that featured Isabella Boylston and David Hallberg as Manon and Des Grieux the night attended, alongside
Christine Shevchenko as Lescaut's mistress and Blaine Hoven as Lescaut. All four are incredible dancers, that brought this story to life in a way that was both believable and emotional. And while this season marks the return of Manon to ABT's Met Opera season, I would hope it returns once more with these phenomenal dancers.