Next week, a coproduction between the Auditorio de Tenerife and the operas of Oviedo and Chile will be enjoyed on an 11-metre-high stage.


Ópera de Tenerife presents the second title of its 2023-2024 season: Manon, by Jules Massenet, in which the main character is torn between love and wealth. On 21, 23, and 25 November it takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Symphony Hall. The tickets are available for regular audiences for 25 euros (5 euros for the audience under 30 years of age), and there are also discounts for students, the unemployed, large families, and groups.

The details of this coproduction between the Auditorio de Tenerife, the Municipal Theatre of Santiago-National Opera of Chile, and the Opera of Oviedo were announced by the artistic director of the Auditorio de Tenerife, José Luis Rivero, the musical director, Christopher Franklin, the stage director, Emilio Sagi, and the star who plays Manon, the soprano Sabina Puértolas.

José Luis Rivero explained that "for us, this Manon is the first production with the Opera of Chile and one of the many that we have already tackled with the Opera of Oviedo”. The artistic director highlighted that "for Ópera de Tenerife, this is the premiere of Manon, as we had not staged it, so it will be a discovery for our audience”. Lastly, he wanted to highlight that "opera culture is more alive than ever”.

The soprano Sabina Puértolas admitted that since arriving on the island she has written to family and friends with "kisses from paradise”. “I love the Ópera de Tenerife and the affection with which we are treated here, we have formed a great team in order for the audience to feel the same as we do when we go on stage”. With regard to the lead role, she explained that "Manon is a girl who gulps up life, who doesn't see who her decisions may affect, and who does what she wants down to the logical conclusion”. For Puértolas, "Each production is different, and there are always nuances because I respond to inputs such as the acoustics of theatres and my colleagues on stage”.  

Christopher Franklin, who will lead the Sinfónica de Tenerife, recalled that Manon was one of the first operas he conducted. Despite the fact he has lived in Italy for many years, where Puccini's version of this story (Manon Lescaut) is more recognised, "I personally feel closer to the score by Massenet”. With regard to working with this title "that is unusual in the repertoire", he shared "the intensity of the days working on this great stage with stairs that revolve, difficult to organise and direct with the musicians from the pit and the singers on the stage”.

Emilio Sagi made his debut in December 2003 at the recently opened Auditorio de Tenerife with the opera L'equivoco stravagante by Rossini, production at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro. “I am returning 20 years later very happy with this Manon, work that I have always wanted to conduct, and the fact that these three theatres have awarded me this opportunity”. “It is a wonderful work, full of nuances that star Manon, a woman in a world of men, a poor young girl who has nothing, and who is sent to a convent by her parents, which was common at the time, and she has to manage in a world she doesn't know and is amazed by how high society lives" analyses the multi award winner from Oviedo. He quoted Borges, who in his stories wanted nothing other than to excite and entertain, to explain that "our job is to excite and offer the greatest possible show”.

This opera in five acts and six scenes has a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille, based on the novel Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost. It was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 19 January 1884.

Manon is a very young character who oscillates between love at first sight, passionate love, and her desire for wealth and freedom. The story, which takes place in France under the reign of Louis XV in the 18th century, begins when Manon goes to the convent to fulfil the wishes of her parents, who are worried upon seeing her leaning towards earthly pleasures.

Then, she finds herself by chance in an inn with Chevalier Des Grieux, a young student. A single look suffices for them to fall in love. They decide to escape to Paris but the idyll is short-lived. Manon cannot live on loving alone and accepts the offer of a life of luxuries in exchange for being the lover of a rich lord, Guillot Morfontaine. Des Grieux is not willing to leave her and will follow her on a tortuous path.

The team of Sagi, which has worked on stage and on the artistic direction in national and international theatres, is completed with the stage design of Daniel Biano, 11 metres high and taking up 240 square metres of the Auditorium. It is inspired by the work of the 18th-century painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard to offer an eighteenth-century feel of luxury. The costumes, in a classic style, are by Pablo Núñez and the lighting design is by Eduardo Bravo.

Christopher Franklin will conduct the Sinfónica de Tenerife, which will be accompanied by forty voices from the resident choir Coro Titular de Ópera de Tenerife-Intermezzo, directed by Andrés Juncos, among whom there will be nine secondary singers with more notable roles.

The soprano Sabina Puértolas will be transformed into Manon, as she did in November 2022, at the première of this proposal at the Municipal Theatre of Santiago and last September at the Ópera of Oviedo. The Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan will play Le chevalier des Grieux, the lover of Manon. The baritone Luis Cansino will be transformed into Lescaut, the cousin of Manon, and the bass Insung Sim will play Le Comte des Grieux, father of the gentleman suitor.

Guillot Morfontaine, a finance minister who will become obsessed with Manon, will be performed by the tenor Gillen Munguía, and Monsieur de Brétigny, a noble friend of his, will be played by the baritone Lorenzo Barbieri. The soprano Inés Lorans and the mezzo-sopranos Claire Gascoin and Christina Campsall will play the roles of the actresses Pousette, Javotte, and Rosette, respectively. The bass Abraham García will sing the roles of the innkeeper, the doorman of the Saint Sulpice seminary, and a croupier. On the other hand, 21 extras will complete the scenes.

Jules Massenet was born in the French area of Montaud, close to Saint-Étienne, on 12 May 1842, and he died in Paris on 13 August 1912. Throughout his life, this musician of French Romanticism was highly renowned for his opera work, although in his compositional work, he dealt with other registers, from ballet to oratorios and cantatas, to songs, orchestral works, and compositions for piano. His operas were very popular in the period between the centuries, from the end of the 19th to the early 20th century.

The tickets for the performances of Manon are available on the website, at the auditorium's box office, or by dialling the phone number 902 317 327 from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.