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
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, Jen?fa, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Time: the reign of Louis XV
The bustling courtyard of an inn at Amiens. De Brétigny, a nobleman, has just arrived, in the company of Guillot, an aging rake (he is the Minister of Finance), and three flirtatious young actresses, Poussette, Javotte and Rosette. While the obsequious innkeeper is serving this party with his best dinner, the townspeople collect to witness the arrival of the coach from Arras, among them Lescaut, a Guardsman, here, he informs his comrades, to meet a kinswoman. Shortly, the coach appears, and among the crowd he quickly identifies his pretty, fragile young cousin, Manon, who asks pardon for her bewilderment (Je suis toujours tout étourdie);this is, after all, 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, however, to derision from the three young actresses, is routed by the return of Lescaut, who thenm subjects his cousin to a lecture (Regardez-moi bien dans les yeux) on the behavior proper to a demure young member of the Lescaut family. Drawn by the prospect of some gambling with his friends, he nevertheless leaves her unattended once more. Alone, she reflects admiringly on the fashionably decked attractions of the three actresses, but reproaches herself (Voyons, Manon), unconvincingly vowing to rid herself of all worldly visions.
A romantically inclined young chevalier, des Grieux, on a journey home for reunion with his father, catches sight of Manon, and is instantly in love; when he approaches she is at once charmed by his chivalrous address (Et je sais votre nom), and their exchange rapidly becomes a mutual avowal of love. Both their projected journeys, hers to the convent, des Grieux’s to his home, are swiftly abandoned, as they decide to flee together (Nous vivrons à Paris), but already there are hints of incompatible aspirations: while he returns, over and again, to “tous les deux” (together), the phrase she repeatedly fondles is “à Paris.” Making good use of the carriage provided by the disappointed Guillot, the lovers escape.
Paris, the apartment of Manon and des Grieux ; he, without much hope, is writing a letter to his father, imploring permission to marry her. There is a knock at the door, and Lescaut enters, intent on creating a scene. His concern for offended family honor is, however, only camouflage for his new and remunerative alliance with de Brétigny, who has accompanied him, masquerading as a fellow-Guardsman. While, to prove his honorable intentions, des Grieux is showing Lescaut the letter to his father, . 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 deaprt, Manon appears to vacillate between the prospect and warning des Grieux, but when her lover goes out to post his letter, her touching farewell to the humble domesticity she has shared(Adieu, notre petite table) makes clear she has decided to go with de Brétigny. Returning, unaware of any change, des Grieux raptly conveys his more modest vision of their future happiness (En fermant les yeux, the once-famous `Dream Song’). Going outside to investigate an apparent disturbance, he is indeed seized and hustled away, leaving Manon to voice her regrets.
Paris, the promenade of the Cours-la-Reine on a feast-day. Among the throng of holiday-makers and vendors of all kinds, Guillot appears, still frantically flirting with the young actresse, and Lescaut, hymning the pleasures of gambling (Pourquoi bon l’économie?). Shortly de Brétigny arrives, soon joined by Manon, now sumptuously dressed and with a retinue of admirers; she performs a little song about her new eminence (Je marche sur tous les chemins), followed by a sprightly gavotte (Obéissons quand leur voix appelle) on the joys of love and youth.
Des Grieux’s father, the comte, greets de Brétigny, and Manon overhears that his former lover is “Chevalier” no longer, but `Abbé,” having entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice. Approaching the comte, Manon confirms the news, and tries to dicover whether his son still loves her. The ballet follows, but Manon, seized by the desire to see des Grieux once more, hurries off to Saint-Sulpice.
Saint-Sulpice. From the chapel, a fashionable congregation is dispersing, enthusiastic over the sermon of the new abbé (Quelle éloquence!). Des Grieux enters, in clerical garb, and his father adds his voice to the chorus of praise, but tries to dissuade his son from this new life, so that he can perpetuate the family name (Epouse quelque brave fille).
Having failed to shake his son’s resolve, he withdraws, and des Grieux, alone, wrestles against his tenacious memories of Manon (Ah! Fuyez, douce image). As he prays, Manon herself appears, to implore his forgiveness for her treachery. Furiously, he attempts to reject her, but when (in the deliciously serpentine N’est-ce plus ma main?) she recalls their past intimacies, his resistance is overcome, and their voices join in an impassioned avowal of love.
A gaming salon at the Hôtel de Transylvanie. Lescaut and Guillot are among the gamblers, and the three young actresses are prepared to attach themselves to any winner. Manon arrives with des Grieux; no longer with any illusions as to her character (Manon! Manon! Sphinx étonnant) he admits his helpless thralldom, and allows himself to be persuaded to gamble, in hopes of gaining the wealth she craves. He plays at cards with Guillot and wins, winning each time when Guillot doubles and redoubls the wager. As Manon exults, Guillot accuses des Grieux of cheating. Des Grieux hotly denies the charge; Guillot leaves, but shortly returns with the police, to whom he denounces des Grieux as a cheat and Manon as dissolute.
The elder des Grieux comes on the scene, and tells his son that while he will intercede in his behalf, he will do nothing to save Manon. In a big ensemble, with Guillot exulting over his revenge, Manon lamenting the end of all joy, des Grieux swearing to defend her and the rest expressing consternation and horror, the arrested pair are led away.
A desolate spot near the road to Le Havre. Des Grieux, freed by his father’s intervention, and a penitent Lescaut, now his ally, wait to waylay the convoy in which Manon, with other convicts, is being marched to the port for transportation as a woman of ill-fame. A detachment of soldiers arrives with their prisoners; the would-be rescuers recognize the hopelessness of attacking so strong an escort, but Lescaut succeeds in bribing their sergeant to all Manon to stay here till evening. The convoy moves on, and a sick and exhausted Manon falls to the ground at des Grieux’s feet.
In his arms, near delirium, she recapitulates the scenes — and the melodies — of former happiness. Des Grieux tells her the past can yet be reborn, but Manon, calm now, knows it is too late; with the words “Et c’est là l’histoire de Manon Lescaut,” she dies.