Manon’s spell

Manon-hungarian-national-ballet-1Capturing arch feet enter the scene seducing and charming the audience with the changing beauty of the new Étoile Lili Felméry. A technically perfect, multifaceted, deeply alive Manon who launches herself into astonishing arabesque, curving her back into the arms of her suitors, loosing academic movements through the adventures of the three acts ballet. But beside that, it is Felméry’s metamorphosis that conquers and moves the audience: sweet lover, provoking seductress, proud courtesan, wretched slave, never leaving for a single moment the acting dignity of her changing fate.

Manon-hungarian-national-ballet-3It is deeply realistic and almost theatrical Manon, performed by the Hungarian National Ballet, with MacMillan’s original scenery and costumes; well played both by music that chases, waits, underlines the dancers movements, and by dancers who play their roles far more than dance technique requires, drawing the audience attention to a deep understanding of the various characters’ emotions, from the easygoing beginning to the final heartrending scene.

The downside of the entire performance comes from the male side: the Beggars charge too much in the first part loosing that neat movement, but they are counterbalanced during the plot by the accuracy of the Gentlemen. Lescaut (Iurii Kekalo) is awarded by his expressiveness, otherwise the entering scene would have been embarrassing: loose feet, loose lines, trembling pirouettes, forgotten en dehors… fortunately he gains some points in the drunken part, thanks also to his ironic and accommodating mistress. No more better figure for poor Des Grieux (Gergely Leblanc) who, like a bitten dog, often looses the power of his muscular legs, never achieving to reach the sky in the euphoria or the cry of a jump.

But Manon is always there, ruling the stage, enchanting and moving her audience that applauds her in unison for more than 10 minutes.

Lara Crippa

“Manon” with Hungarian National Ballet
@ Hungarian State Opera, Budapest 26/02/2016

Choreographer: Sir Kenneth MacMillan
Composer: Jules Massanet
Set Designer: Nicolas Georgiadis
Costume Designer: Nicolas Georgiadis
Light Designer: John B. Read
Production Director: Jo Maund

Manon: Lili Felméry
Des Grieux: Gergely Leblanc
Lescaut: Iuri Kekalo
Lescaut’s mistress: Elizaveta Cheprasova
Monsieur G.M.: Bence Apáti
Madame: Marianna Venekei
Gaoler: Roland Liebich
Beggar chief: Boris Myasnikov
Courtesans: Ildikó Boros / Yuka Asai
Beggars: Balázs Krajczár / Lloyd Petchey / Carlos Taravillo / Mark Biocca / Pierpaolo D’Amico
Gentlemen: Umberto Aragno / Yuya Takahashi / Dénes Darab

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