Manon Lescaut

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March 2025 Next


A life with the wealthy Geronte would offer the pretty Manon luxury, yet it would be devoid of passion. And great passion is what Manon enjoys with the poverty-stricken Chevalier Renato des Grieux. She must make a choice. Failing to do so is fateful for her …


The 1893 opera Manon Lescaut was Giacomo Puccini’s first triumph. Abounding in splendid melodies, the music renders intense emotions, from fervid love in the duet between Des Grieux and Manon in Act 2 to crushing despair of the lonesome Manon in the aria “Sola, perduta, abbandonata”.


The libretto is based on Abbé Prévost’s novel Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux, et de Manon Lescaut, issued in 1731 in Paris. Puccini was mesmerised by the book, yet his publisher, Ricordi, tried to dissuade him from setting it, pointing out that the story had already been adapted as an opera, Jules Massenet’s wildly popular Manon. Puccini, however, stuck to his guns, reasoning that “a woman like Manon can have more than one lover”.


Despite its difficult gestation (the text was patched together by five librettists), he created an opera whose premiere, on 1 February 1893 in Turin, enraptured the audience and critics alike. Puccini’s Manon Lescaut received its first performance in Bohemia on 24 April 1894 at the National Theatre in Prague. The Neues deutsches Theater (today’s State Opera) followed suit on 1 November 1923, with the production conducted by Alexander Zemlinsky, who at the time served as director of its opera company.

Program and cast

Conductor - Andriy Yurkevych & Piotr Staniszewski


State Opera Chorus
State Opera Orchestra


Creative team

Stage director - Sláva Daubnerová

Sets - Juraj Kuchárek

Costumes - Tereza Kopecká

Light design - Daniel Tesař

Choreography / Motion cooperation - Jan Adam

Dramaturgy - Jitka Slavíková


Language: In Italian, surtitles in Czech, English

Prague State Opera

The State Opera today


The State Opera (formerly the State Opera Prague, between 1948 and 1992 the Smetana Theatre, and originally the New German Theatre) has been a part of the National Theatre since 2012. The Opera and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the State Opera.




The Prague State Opera resides in the building which on January 5, 1888 was opened as a Prague German stage with the performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nürnberg. In the 19th century, Prague Germans performed in the Estate’s Theater in alternation with a Czech company. Desire for their own theater led to negotiations in 1883 for the construction of a new theater building for the German Theater Association. Over the next three years, a blueprint was drawn up and handed over to the Vienna atelier of Fellner and Hellmer. Also sharing in the design was the architect of the Vienna Municipal Theater, Karl Hasenauer, while Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller took part in the construction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.




By car

On Wilsonova street, from the left lane close to the State Opera building take the slip road to the Slovan above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.


By tram


By daytime tram No. 11 to the stop “Muzeum”, through the underpass beneath Legerova street in the direction of the NationalMuseum, at the crossroads turn right along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14 and 24 or night trams Nos. 51, 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Václavské náměstí”, then by foot uphill on the left side of the Wenceslas Square to the traffic lights across Wilsonova and Vinohradská streets. Then turn left along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By metro

To the “Muzeum” station, lines A and C (green and red), and then by foot along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

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