Lust and loss: Manon at Geneva Opera

Carole ParodiPatricia Petitbon electrifies as Manon at Geneva Opera
Carole ParodiPatricia Petitbon electrifies as Manon at Geneva Opera
Carole ParodiManon at Geneva Opera
Carole ParodiManon at Geneva Opera

A new production by the brilliant and controversial Olivier Pi

The French director Olivier Pi is renowned for his fiery and provocative productions. Six years after Alban Berg's Lulu that created a 'scandale d'estime' at the Geneva Opera, the Director of Avignon Festival and former director of Odéon Théâtre de l'Europe, returns with another tale of sexual woes.

Jules Massenet's late 19th century opera is based on the novel L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut published in 1731 that was considered so shocking at the time, that it was toned down by its own author, l'Abbe Prévost.

The love between Manon and the young and pure Chevalier des Grieux cannot satisfy Manon's craving for luxury and when she turns to prostitution, he turns to crime. The damning of their souls is set against puritanical hypocrisy and never fails to draw compassionate tears from the audience.

Patricia Petitbon, whose electrifying performance as Lulu was matched by the ethereal incandescence of her voice, returns to Geneva as Manon. As slight as an elf, she radiates a sexual power that appears to melt the men in her presence.

Pi favours grand, baroque effects and does not shy away from transgressions of all kinds. He is out to shake our sensitivities, but he is also strangely respectful of the moral rectitude of religion. His shows have a sublime uneasiness, as if to remind us that we are never completely free of our inhibitions.   

Manon by Jules Massenet / Direction Olivier Pi / Marko Letonja with Patricia Bon, Bernard Richter & Pierre Doyen

English subtitles


During the Grand Théâtre de Genève's renovation until 2018, the shows take place at:

Opéra des Nations 
40 Avenue de France
1202 Genève

By: Michele Laird