Can’t buy me love: ‘Manon’ screening in Grass Valley Saturday |

Can’t buy me love: ‘Manon’ screening in Grass Valley Saturday

John Deaderick
Special to Prospector


WHO: Sierra Cinemas Presents

WHAT: The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD - “Manon”

WHEN: Saturday, Oct, 26 at 9:55 a.m.

WHERE: Sierra Cinemas, E. Main Street Grass Valley

TICKETS: $23 Adults, $21 Seniors, $18 Children 12 and under & students with ID; Available online at or at the Sierra Cinemas Box Office

INFO:, 530-477-9000

This Saturday Grass Valley’s Sierra Cinemas presents the Met Opera Live in HD performance of Jules Massenet’s “Manon.”

Adapted from a sensational and scandalous best-selling novel of the 1730s, Jules Massenet’s enduring “Manon” premiered in 1884 and has remained in the repertoire ever since. It’s easy to understand why. The lush, quintessentially French score is rich as crushed purple velvet and highlights the composer’s impressive gifts as an orchestral colorist. Add to this the compelling title character, the innocent who falls from grace – how opera loves these women — and you have an irresistibly alluring work. Giacomo Puccini certainly thought so as well, as he set the Abbé Prévost’s novel himself for his 1893 opera, “Manon Lescaut.”

Massenet’s opera, being French, features ballet. And being French, the work is both titillating and moralistic. The sweet and naïve young maiden of the first act has become the convicted “woman of ill-fame” by act five. Manon’s head has been turned by wealth even as her heart was touched by the spurned lover des Grieux, who had taken his woes into priestly study only to seek her out one final time. Manon learns to late that money doesn’t buy happiness, and as many operatic heroine’s do, dies in her true love’s arms.

The Met’s current production glitters with period glamour. Set in and around Paris, Designer Chantal Thomas’ set highlight’s familiar landmarks such as the church of St. Sulpice. Originally set in the early 18th century, this Met’s production places the story in the late 19th century, the so-called “Belle Époque,” reflecting the era of the opera’s composition. Soprano Lisette Oropesa has drawn raves for her embodiment of the title character, a role every soprano yearns to sing because of the range and beauty of Massenet’s writing.

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John Deaderick is a local theatre artist and the author of Make Sweet the Minds of Men: Early Opera and Tragic Catharsis, available at

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