Opera Alegría presents

The Portrait of Manon / L’Heure Espagnole

Sung in English with libretti by Lindsay Bramley

Directed by Benjamin Newhouse-Smith

“What next?” is a question not often asked in opera. Will Rodolfo ever love again? Can Guglielmo and Fiordiligi’s marriage really succeed? Do the Rhinemaidens need better terms and conditions this time…? Massenet, however, has given it a go. Manon has died in the desert, bemoaning the rich life she might have had were it not for love. She leaves behind her lover, heartbroken and bereft. What next? In this new production of this one-act opera, we find De Grieux, having shuttered away his heart, eking out a solitary existence, batting away the world’s obsession with love and good spirits like summer midges. And when his pupil professes not only love, but love for one considerably outside their social circle, he is adamant that it cannot continue. But love can only be buried so deep, and memories of Manon may yet crack his cold exterior. What next..?

Where The portrait of Manon tells a story of the aftermath of a great love and the fresh beginnings of a new love, L’heure espagnole sees its central character in a stable secure marriage… into which she is determined to inject a little excitement. In this revival of their highly successful 2018 production, Opera Alegría examines what she ought to seek in a lover – The airy extempore of a poet? Or the grandeur of a local politician? Perhaps the answer is right under her nose among the clock-faces in her husband’s shop?