Puccini: Chailly Conducts Manon Lescaut at La Scala

Puccini: Chailly Conducts Manon Lescaut at La Scala

On March 31 Milano’s Teatro alla Scala plays host to Roger Parker’s critical edition of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Manon Lescaut, conducted by Riccardo Chailly. Director David Pountney. Repeat performances through April 24. 

From the introduction by Gabriele Dotto:
Roger Parker’s critical edition of Manon Lescaut provides the cast and orchestra with extant versions of the opera hailing from various sources. The score has been thoroughly revised, casting to the wayside the numerous changes in the traditional score introduced after Puccini’s death. Puccini himself had made many changes in Manon Lescaut over the course of a thirty-year period, from the opera’s premiere at Torino’s Teatro Regio in 1893 to its performance at La Scala in 1923, which was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. 

Chailly has opted for 1893 debut version, which he conducted at the Leipzig Opernhaus in 2008. This version focuses on the “experimental” features of Manon Lescaut, as part of Puccini’s development as a composer. Not only does this version revisit portions that had been successively cut or modified in later versions, but it also emphasizes a much denser instrumental coloring with bolder shades throughout. 

Roger Parker’s edition of Manon Lescaut is the first in a series of critical editions of Giacomo Puccini’s operas to be published by Ricordi.  Upcoming publications include critical editions of Le Villi and Edgar.

Image: In America. As Far as the Eye Can See, Act IV, sketch by Ugo Gheduzzi. (1853-1925)
Manon Lescaut, Turin, Teatro Regio, 1893 - Archivio Storico Ricordi © Ricordi & C. S.r.l. Milan