Sunday, 19 October 2014
Manon Royal Opera House, Choreography Kenneth Macmillan with Marianela Nunez, Federico Bonelli, Ricardo Cervera
Manon is 40 years old. Incredible. It is as fresh today under its present cast, Marianela Nunez and Federico Bonelli, and over the four decades has been a regular feature in the Royal Ballet repertoire. It is a modern classic offering spectacular principal roles with breath-taking pas de deux. Manon's allure of money is undermined by Des Grieux's steadfast love for her; both are compromised by her brother's ruthless deals. This is eighteenth century, pre-revolutionary Paris, where the pimp and the player trade cards, dice and people. Perhaps it was the appearance of Nicholas Georgiadis' design with John B Read's sumptuous lighting or Macmillian's creative spirit, but something special happened on Thursday night. The chemistry between Nunez and Bonelli was stunning, while Macmillan's choreography as she is man-handled, feet hardly touching the floor, in Act 2 is a study in brutal dance poetry. Yet the ballet's structure is pure nineteenth century. Manon a study in lust, greed and redemption fuses the modern and the traditional. And when the dancing is this good, the price is worth paying.