The English National Ballet’s Manon At The Opera House Manchester, was my first ever ballet.
I was never one of those graceful ballerina types as a child. I was heavy footed and ungraceful. So ballet was never on my radar. It was one of those niches I just did not fit into.
How wrong can a person be? You see, even the elephant footed amongst us can appreciate breath-taking music. And choreography that is so intricate and detailed it leaves you intoxicatingly dizzy and not knowing where to look first. Manon was my first ever experience of The Ballet and it most certainly won’t be my last.
Presented by the English National Ballet, the story tells the tale of Manon a young girl on a journey to enter a convent.
However on that journey she simultaneously encounters Monsieur GM and Des Grieux. One of who wants to take her as his mistress and bestow untold wealth on her. The other who offers true love and affection but can not offer wealth.
Manon initially choses love and runs away from the desires of Monsieur GM and a life of being a possession. She favours a life of passion and love, which is demonstrated in the most stunning scene where Des Grieux declares his undying love for her.
Until Monsieur GM turns her head with riches and jewels. And Manon is tempted away with riches beyond her wildest dreams.
Des Grieux with the help of Manon’s brother Lescaut sets out to find and bring his love home, away from the clutches of Monsieur GM. He finds her bestowed in wealth, and after initially denying his love, she agrees to escape, but first convinces him to cheat Monsieur GM out of his fortune in a card game.
The Conclusion is breath-taking in every sense of the word.
I was conscious that at one point I was holding my breath in anticipation. Waiting to see how the story unfolded and if Manon and Des Grieux get to live a full and happy life together?
Manon captivated me throughout every enchanting note, every single perfectly choreographed step.
And I have to say I was worried about reviewing a ballet. What experience do I have to offer an opinion on something I have never seen before? I was so wrong. I can recognise an incredible story, beauty, hard work, sweat and tears.
The score started so softly, almost quietly, as the music built the energy built. And in turn the dancing intensified and the electricity in the air became palpable. I honestly have never experience anything quite like it in my life. My good friend Lisa at one point commented that I was sat speechless with my mouth wide open in disbelief at the incredible beauty and talent of the cast and orchestra.
There was magic in the air, the stage was alive. With so much going on I truly did not know where to look first. I felt every emotion of possession, love, despair and fear.
If you have never seen The Ballet before then I urge you to try it. Lisa and I left speechless and totally in love with Ballet.
Ultimately, as a theatre lover, how does it compare to musicals and theatrical shows? Well you just can’t even try to compare, its like comparing Princess Dianna to Elton John. Both incredibly inspiring but incomparable. you want them both at your dinner party for different reasons. For me this is the start of a beautiful love affair.
Manon is at the Opera House in Manchester until Saturday. And then goes onto Milton Keynes until the 27th.
I was gifted the tickets for the show but all thoughts are my own