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Ballet in three acts with choreography and libretto by MacMillan, music by Massenet (arr. Leighton Lucas), and designs by Georgiadis. Premiered 7 Mar. 1974 by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden with Sibley, Dowell, Wall, Rencher, Mason, and Drew. The ballet is based on Abbé Prévost's L'Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut (1731), which also inspired operas by Massenet and Puccini and earlier ballets by Jean Aumer (at the Paris Opera in 1830) and Giovanni Golinelli (Vienna, 1852). The story of the ambitious and avaricious courtesan Manon provided MacMillan with one of his greatest successes, and one of the most enduring full-length ballets of the latter half of the 20th century. His treatment of Manon's doomed love for des Grieux, which begins in Regency Paris and ends in the swamps of Louisiana, is both dramatically detailed and sensually charged and its central pas de deux revealed new physical and erotic possibilities in the language of partnering. Since its premiere it has been a constant of the Royal Ballet's repertory and has also been staged for many other companies, including the Royal Swedish Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, the Houston Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre, and the Mariinsky.

Subjects: Dance.

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