Sarah Lamb (Manon) and Vadim Muntagirov (Des Grieux) © ROH 2014 / Alice Pennefather
Kenneth MacMillan’s powerful telling of Manon and Des Grieux’s tragic love is a masterpiece of modern ballet. His source was the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, already adapted for opera by Massenet and Puccini. Leighton Lucas provided a score drawn from across Massenet’s music. Designs by MacMillan's regular collaborator Nicholas Georgiadis depict a world of lavish splendour polluted by miserable destitution. Spectacular ensemble scenes for the whole company create vivid, complex portraits of the distinct societies of Paris and New Orleans. But it is Manon and Des Grieux’s impassioned pas de deux that drive this tragic story, and make Manon one of MacMillan’s most powerful dramas.