Soft silks and delicious taffetas. Ropes of pearls against bare skin. Candlelight reflected in exquisite gilt mirrors. This is the boudoir world of rococo France, where a woman’s face is her fortune. Manon learns early that men will give her anything because she is young and beautiful. She’s happy to play the game, until she makes the fatal mistake of falling in love.
This scandalous story of love, lust and greed became an instant sensation in 18th Century Paris. We bring it to life once more in a sumptuous production featuring a large, talented cast and orchestra, and the most magnificent costumes we have ever put on the Granada stage.
Sung in French with English surtitles
Running time: 3 hours, with 2 intermissions
Season Sponsors: The John C. Mithun Foundation & The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation
Named artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara in August 2015, Kostis Protopapas made his company conducting debut with Carmen in November 2016.
2016 saw the end of Kostis' long association with Tulsa Opera, where he served as Artistic Director from November 2007 until May 2013, as Interim Executive Director from November 2011 until February 2013 and as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master from 2001 until 2007. During his 15-year tenure with the company, Kostis conducted 30 productions of a diverse repertoire extending from popular classics like La Boheme, Carmen and Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci to contemporary American works like Elmer Gantry, Of Mice and Men and A Streetcar Named Desire. About his 2011 Barber of Seville performances, Alex Ross of The New Yorker wrote "Most impressive was the fluid idiomatic playing of the orchestra... In any city, it's rare to find a conductor that sets the right tempo so consistently that you forget he's there."
Kostis' leadership at Tulsa Opera focused on furthering the company's long-standing reputation for artistic excellence and expanding the company's commitment to contemporary and American opera. Under his leadership the company produced a major American work each season between 2011 and 2016. Other key initiatives of his tenure included the development of the Tulsa Studio Artists Program, the expansion of company's outreach and educational programs, and the forging of new partnerships with arts organizations in Tulsa and beyond.
Between 202 and 2008 Kostis was also an Assistant Conductor for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera and Santa Fe Opera. At the Lyric Opera of Chicago he also served as Assistant Chorus Master under Donald Palumbo for two seasons. Kostis started his career on the music staff of Virginia Opera and Opera Memphis; he conducted at Opera in the Ozarks every summer from 2000 to 2004; has been a regular guest conductor at Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis since 2007 and a guest conductor for the Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Columbus, Shreveport Opera, El Paso Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis and the Westmoreland Symphony. In 2016-17 he will return to Winter Opera St. Louis to conduct La Cenerentola.
Born in Athens, Greece, Kostis Protopapas studied Archaeology and History of Art at the University of Athens before coming to the United States in 1993, on an Onassis Foundation scholarship, to study piano at The Boston Conservatory and conducting at Boston University. He became an American citizen in 2011 and splits his time between Chicago and Santa Barbara, with his wife, soprano and stage director Cathleen Dunn-Protopapas, and their four cats, Gus, Miles, Zsa-Zsa and Gigi.
Stage director Kristine McIntyre has directed more than 75 operas across the U.S. with a focus on new, contemporary, and American works. Productions include Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (Des Moines Metro Opera, Madison Opera), the world premiers of Louis Karchin's Jane Eyre (Center for Contemporary Opera, New York) and Mark Lanz Weiser's The Place Where You Started (Portland State University), Jonathan Dove’s Flight (Pittsburgh Opera, Austin Lyric Opera), the world premiere of Kirke Mechem’s John Brown (Lyric Opera of Kansas City), Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair (Lyric Opera of Kansas City) and Three Decembers (Des Moines Metro Opera), Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry (Tulsa Opera), Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men (Utah Opera, Austin Opera, Tulsa Opera), new productions of Street Scene, The Tender Land (Michigan Opera Theater) and Lee Hoiby's Bon Appétit and the world premiere of The Canticle of the Black Madonna (Newmark Theater, Portland).
Other recent opera directing credits include Manon, Jenufa, Peter Grimes, Eugene Onegin and La bohème (Des Moines Metro Opera), Otello, La Cenerentola, Tosca, Le nozze di Figaro, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and La clemenza di Tito (Pittsburgh Opera), The Pearl Fishers (Utah Opera), Lucia di Lammermoor and Madama Butterfly (Arizona Opera), Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Norma, and The Turn of the Screw (Lyric Opera of Kansas City), Il ritorno d’Ulisse, Lucia di Lammermoor and La traviata (Portland Opera), The Tales of Hoffmann, Un Ballo in Maschera and Cosi fan tutte (Madison Opera), Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci, Carmen and Werther (Kentucky Opera), La bohème (New Orleans Opera), Don Giovanni and Rigoletto (Tulsa Opera), a new American setting of Hansel and Gretel (Skylight Opera Theatre), Lucia di Lammermoor (Anchorage Opera), Tancredi (Opera Boston), Verdi’s Un giorno di regno (Wolftrap Opera), Béatrice et Bénédict and Viva la Mamma (Tacoma Opera), and Die Fledermaus, A Little Night Music, Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and seven Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for Mock’s Crest in Portland.
Soprano Sarah Coburn’s 2017-2018 season includes concerts with tenor Lawrence Brownlee, both at the Tivoli Festival with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and in Jurmala, Latvia. The season will also include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Choral Arts Society of Washington at the Kennedy Center.S
Ms. Coburn’s 2016-2017 season included a return to the Tivoli Festival for a concert with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, Adèle in Le comte Ory with Seattle Opera, Rosina in Il barbiere di Sivigliawith Opera San Antonio, and a role and company debut as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serailwith Atlanta Opera.
Recent highlights include the role of Amina in La sonnambula with the Wiener Staatsoper, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Seattle Opera, Marie in La fille du regiment with Seattle Opera and Tulsa Opera, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette with Tulsa Opera, and Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Washington National Opera. Ms. Coburn has perfomed the roles of Princess Yue-Yang in the world premiere production of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera opposite Placido Domingo, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Florida Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Tulsa Opera, Seattle Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera; the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with Washington National Opera, Tulsa Opera and Utah Opera; Gilda in Rigoletto with Welsh National Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Los Angeles Opera, Portland Opera, Arizona Opera, and Cincinnati Opera; Asteria in Tamerlano with Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera; Vittoria in Pedrotti’s Tutti in maschera at Wexford Festival Opera, Euridice and Genio in Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo with the Handel & Haydn Society and Glimmerglass Opera, Elvira in I puritani with the Tivoli Festival, Boston Lyric Opera and Washington Concert Opera, Lakmé with Tulsa Opera, Lucie de Lammermoor with both Cincinnati Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Linda di Chamounix at the Caramoor Festival, and Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Glimmerglass Opera. Ms. Coburn has also performed with Glimmerglass Opera as the title character in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience as well as Sister Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, a role she reprised for New York City Opera.
Tenor Harold Meers has rapidly established himself as one of the outstanding American singers currently assaying the romantic Italian and French repertoire. With his foray into the master works of Donizetti, Gounod, Massenet, Puccini and Verdi, Mr. Meers has garnered the sort of critical praise often reserved for opera's brightest hopefuls.
Since his professional debut with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Mr. Meers has frequented the principal lyric venues of North America, including bows with the San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Baltimore Opera, New Orleans Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Minnesota Opera, Cleveland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Omaha, Nashville Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Sarasota Opera and Virginia Opera among others.
Recent seasons were highlighted by Mr. Meers being heard as Hoffmann in Madison Opera’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Macduff in Minnesota Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth, Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème with San Diego Opera and Minnesota Opera, Soloist with the Madison Symphony and joining the roster of the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo (cover) in La Bohème and as Cassio (Cover) in the new production of Verdi’s Otello. In addition, he was heard as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with both Nashville Opera and Columbus Opera.
Other recent engagements include partnering with Denyce Graves as Don Jose in Carmen with Opera Charleston, performances of Ruggero in a stunning production of Puccini’s seldom performed La Rondine, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, and as Charles for the world premiere of Anton Coppola's La Coupe et les Lèvres.
Described by The New York Times as having a “buttery, booming baritone," Alex DeSocio received his BM in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University and his MM at the University of Maryland with the Maryland Opera Studio under the tutelage of Leon Major. Recent performances include Dancairo in Carmen with Fort Worth Opera, Schaunard in La boheme with The Charleston Opera, Guglielmo with LoftOpera in Cosi fan tutte, Dandini in Fort Collins Opera’s La Cenerentola and Ramiro in L’heure espangnole with Opera Memphis. In the summer of 2013, Alex joined the Merola Opera Program where he performed opera scenes in the Schwabacher concert and covered the role of Tarquinis in The Rape of Lucretia. In 2015 with the Merola Opera Program, Alex performed the role of Malatesta in Don Pasquale as well as performing in the Merola Grand Finale at the War Mermorial Opera House in San Francisco. Previously, Alex was a resident artist with Pittsburgh Opera. While with Pittsburgh Opera, he performed performing The Second Priest in The Magic Flute, covering Schaunard in La Boheme, the father in Paul's Case, and Le commissaire in Orphée, Montano in Otello, Alwan in Sumeida's Song, and Morales in Carmen.
Since making his operatic debut as Sparafucile in Verdi’s Rigoletto, bass-baritone Colin Ramsey’s “majestic, orotund, ravishing bass” (Opera Today) has been heard in repertoire spanning continents and centuries. The 2016-17 season finds him making his company debut at Opera San Jose as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. He continues his residence in San Jose reprising Colline in La Bohème and Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He will also make his role debut as Father Palmer in the West Coast Premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Pulitzer Prizewinning Silent Night.
16-17 will also feature several concert debuts including Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Pacific Symphony, the Verdi Requiem with the La Jolla Symphony, and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Symphony.
Colin’s past performances have brought him to the stages of Seattle Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Wolf Trap Opera, Austin Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been featured as Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Collatinus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Mr. Kofner in Menotti’s The Consul, Il Frate in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Angelotti in Tosca, the Sprecher in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Giorgio in the US Premiere of Paisiello’s rarely performed Nina, and as a “sonorous” (Classical King Seattle) Cadmus and Somnus in Handel’s Semele.
Benjamin Brecher, tenor, has performed over fifty operatic roles and sung with over fifty symphonies throughout the world. He has performed over ten roles with The New York City Opera beginning in 1997, specializing in the bel canto opera repertoire. Other performances include: Santa Fe Opera, Opera de Montreal, Opera de Nice, and Glimmerglass Opera, among others. On the concert stage, he has sung with the orchestras of Chicago, Chautauqua, Mexico City, Rome, Seattle, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Budapest, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Toronto Symphony Milwaukee, and the National Symphony at Kennedy Center to mention a few. 2015-2016 will bring: Beethoven’s Ninth in Santa Rosa, Carmina Burana with Florida Symphony, Holiday ‘Pops’ concerts with The Jacksonville Symphony, along with the role of Gerald in Lakmé in Fresno and the world Premiere performances of Shot! A World Changed, an opera about the assassination of President McKinley in Buffalo. Also in 2015 his tenth commercial CD will be released, “Forgotten Liszt”, with Robert Koenig, pianist. The recording will include five world premiere recordings of lost Liszt songs and other of his rare works along a tour of recitals in Fresno, Modesto, Long Beach, and in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen Scotland. Professor Brecher is an Associate Professor at UCSB.
Matt Hanscom began 2016 as Escamillo in Carmen followed by Stanley Kowalski in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire for Opera San Jose. Previous roles with Opera San Jose include the title role in Rigoletto, Scarpia in Tosca, Taddeo in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, Gino Carella in the world premier of Mark Lanz Weiser’s Where Angels Fear to Tread based on the novel of the same name by E.M. Forster, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. Future engagements with Opera San Jose include Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in La bohème, and Lieutenant Gordon in the west coast premier of Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize winning Silent Night. Highlights from recent seasons include a “vocally and dramatically compelling” Comte de Toulouse in Verdi’s Jérusalem, a “fully realized portrait” of Slim in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, and a “most expressive, technically secure, and vocally commanding” Ping in Turandot, all with Sarasota Opera. Matt has enjoyed success at the highest levels of national and international competition. He was an international finalist in the Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition in Gütersloh, Germany. He is a former national semi-finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition as well as a former national semi-finalist in Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers. In consecutive years he was a district winner, followed by a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and can be seen in the documentary film “The Audition.” Possessing both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, Matt is an alumnus of many of the nations premier training programs such as Wolf Trap Opera’s Filene Young Artist Program, the Santa Fe Opera, the Merola Opera Program, Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ Gerdine Young Artist Program, Chicago Opera Theater, Sarasota Opera Studio, and Central City Opera.
Time: The reign of Louis XV
The bustling courtyard of an inn at Amiens: De Brétigny, a nobleman, has arrived with Guillot, an aging rake (and the Minister of Finance), and three flirtatious young actresses, Poussette, Javotte and Rosette. An innkeeper proudly serves the party as townspeople gather to greet a coach from Arras. Among them is Lescaut, a Guardsman, who is there to meet a relative. When the coach appears, he quickly identifies his pretty, fragile young cousin, Manon, who asks pardon for her bewilderment; this is her very first journey—one which is taking her to the convent.
Left alone for a moment, Manon is accosted by the opportunistic Guillot, who tells her he has a carriage waiting in which they can leave together. His heavy-handed seduction is interrupted by the return of Lescaut, who lectures Manon on the proper behavior of a member of the Lescaut family. Ironically, he leaves her unattended again, distracted by a card game. Alone, she reflects admiringly on the fashionably dressed actresses, but reproaches herself unconvincingly, vowing to rid herself of all worldly visions.
The dashing Chevalier des Grieux, en route to a reunion with his father, catches sight of Manon, and falls instantly in love; when he approaches she is charmed by his chivalry. Their exchange rapidly becomes a mutual avowal of love and they decide to flee together to Paris. There are hints of incompatible aspirations: while he envisions a cozy life together, she repeatedly uses the phrase “à Paris.” Commandeering Guillot’s carriage the would-be lovers escape.
Paris, the apartment of Manon and des Grieux: Des Grieux is writing his father, imploring permission to marry Manon. Lescaut enters the apartment, intent on creating a scene. He has made an alliance with de Brétigny, who has accompanied him— masquerading as a fellow-Guardsman. After des Grieux shows Lescaut the letter to his father, Lescaut confidentially warns Manon that tonight des Grieux, on the orders of his father, will be seized and carried off, but points out that, protected by the de Brétigny position and wealth, she can move on to a glittering future.
After the two visitors depart, Manon appears to vacillate between the prospect of a glamourous life and warning des Grieux, but when he goes out to post his letter, she decides to go with de Brétigny. Des Grieux returns to share his modest vision of their future happiness then steps outside to investigate an apparent disturbance. He is seized and hustled away, leaving Manon to voice her regrets.
Paris, the promenade of the Cours-la-Reine on a feast-day: Among a throng of holiday-makers and vendors, Guillot appears, flirting with the young actresses, and Lescaut, hymning the pleasures of gambling. De Brétigny arrives, joined by Manon, sumptuously dressed and with a retinue?of admirers; she performs a little song about her new fame, followed by a sprightly gavotte on the joys of love and youth. Des Grieux’s father, the count, greets de Brétigny; Manon overhears that her former lover has entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice. Seized by desire to see des Grieux once more, she hurries off to find him.
Saint-Sulpice: Des Grieux enters in priestly garb and his?father tries to dissuade him from this new life so that he can perpetuate the family name, but fails. He leaves, and des Grieux wrestles with memories of Manon. Manon appears, imploring his forgiveness. He attempts to reject her, but when she recalls their love his resistance is overcome.
A gaming salon at the Hôtel de Transylvanie: Lescaut and Guillot are among the gamblers. Manon arrives with des Grieux. He no longer has any illusions as to her character, and he gambles in hopes of gaining the wealth she craves. He has a winning streak at cards but Guillot accuses des Grieux of cheating and leaves, returning with the police. He denounces des Grieux as a cheat and Manon as dissolute. Des Grieux’s father appears and says he will intercede on his son’s behalf, but will do nothing to save Manon. The arrested pair are led away.
A desolate spot near the road to Le Havre: Des Grieux, freed by his father’s intervention, waits with the penitent Lescaut, now his ally, hoping to free Manon from a convoy of convicts, but a detachment of soldiers are escorting the convoy. Lescaut bribes a sergeant to allow Manon to stay there until evening. A sick and exhausted Manon falls to the ground at des Grieux’s feet.
In his arms, near delirium, she recalls their former happiness. Des Grieux tells her the past can yet be reborn, but Manon, now calm, knows it is too late; with the words “Et c’est là l’histoire de Manon Lescaut (‘Thus ends the story of Manon Lescaut’),” she dies.