On Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Giacomo Puccini’s opera Manon Lescaut that will premiere on April 8, 2016 was presented on the stage of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. This production was presented to the Zagreb audience by the stage director and set designer Dominique Pitoiset, maestro Nikša Bareza, the director of the CNT Opera and Dubravka Vrgoč, the general manager of the CNT in Zagreb. The moderator of the event was Branimir Pofuk.
This is the fifth opera premiere this season, after I Vespri Siciliani (Zagreb premiere), La Traviata, Mimi and The Marriage of Figaro. Dominique Pitoiset, who is responsible for stage direction of Manon Lescaut is a successful opera and drama director and we are really looking forward to the upcoming premiere, said the general manager Dubravka Vrgoč.
Maestro Nikša Bareza reminded the audience how the main principle that has led him when planning the opera repertoire was the selection of works of high value that were not put on the repertoire of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Manon Lescaut was last time performed at our national theatre house in 1958, so this is a new production after 58 years. The opera titles this season are essential works of opera art said maestro Bareza. Puccini‘s Manon Lescaut is, in relation to other music works created after the same literary model specific because the flow of the composition of the work is interrupted, unlike the other librettos that were written solely on the basis of a model. He excluded insignificant details and focused on desperate passion, allowing the flow of conscience to flow in the direction in which the mind has no further control. Everything is focused on enormous emotions added maestro Bareza.
The stage director and set designer Dominique Pitoiset said how he discovered Puccini when he started traveling intensely throughout Italy. Dealing with Puccini and his opus I have realised to which measure he cared for the human character. It is interesting that Puccini was a feminist and an anarchist. In Manon Lescaut he speaks of the abuse of women; Manon fell victim to a series of men in her life, including her own brother. She is unfortunately sentenced to death by the world of power. Pitoiset compared the conditions from the period when Manon Lescaut was created with the current time in Europe, one we have not dreamt of or wanted. Today I am here because one of the fundamental goals of my work is to incite exchange between generations. Today I primarily wish to dedicate myself to the young generations and teaching because I believe it is crucial to have confidence in the young, added Pitoiset.
The soloists of the performance sang arias from the opera with piano accompaniment: aria of Des Grieux from the first act Donna non vidi mai sung by Renzo Zuliano; arioso of Manon from the second act L’ora o Tirsi – sung by Rebeka Lokar; aria of Manon and duet from the second act In quelle trine morbide – sung by Rebeka Lokar and Siniša Hapač; Crisantemi played by a string quartet: Mojca Ramušćak and Mislav Pavlin – violins, Natalia Anikeeva – viola and Adam Chelfi – cello; duet of Manon and Des Grieux from the third act – sung by Rebeka Lokar, Renzo Zuliano and Ivo Gamulin.