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Product Details

  • Composer: Jules Massenet
  • Audio CD (June 25 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B000068QRV
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,420 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a57eccc) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a3ea9b4) out of 5 stars Excellent and one of a kind Dec 28 2008
By Erik Novoa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent recording of this amazing ballet. Unfortunately, the Ballet of Manon is compilation of many works by Massenet which makes it almost impossible to find on a CD. Other than this recording, the only place to hear this music is at one of the major ballet theaters in the world.

Fortunately, the conductor, Richard Bonynge, has conducted this CD in the manner which it is performed at many theaters in the world. The tempos are excellent both as a symphony and as a ballet. To have handled the tempos any better for ballet (using Rubato) Bonynge would have had to have dancers (Bocca and Ferri) performing this in front of him. Short of that, this is excellent.

I highly recommend this and was very happy to finally own it,
Professional Dancer
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a3eac00) out of 5 stars Beautiful music, beautifully conducted by Richard Bonynge July 7 2007
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This ballet is composed of music by the great French opera composer Jules Massenet. The music is very melodic and quite beautiful. Its beauty is enhanced by the superb conducting of Richard Bonynge. Unlike the previous reviewer, I feel that Bonynge is very gifted in his ability to conduct concert versions of ballets at tempos that enhance their beauty. If you like ballet music of the Romantic period -- or simply beautiful music of any genre -- please treat yourself to this outstanding 2 CD set.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lacey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been an avid collector of ballet scores for over 30 years. I recall reading a synopsis of MacMillan's "Manon" ballet in my Balanchine's Book of Ballet Stories. As a big fan of Massenet's opera "Manon" in particular and his music in general, I have always wanted to hear this score, so when a copy on Amazon became available at a good price, I snatched it up.

Unfortunately, I found this rather disappointing. Leighton Lucas, who arranged and orchestrated the score, manages to select some of Massenet's most dull and unimpressive music. He utilized NOTHING from Massenet's "Manon" - which richly describes the passion and pathos of its heroine, as well as evoking the charm and elegance of the 18th century. There are no gavottes here, no minuets, nor are the pas de deuxs remotely laced with passionate, romantic music the like of which graces every moment of the opera "Manon" or even "Thais" for that matter.
Lucas seems to be enamored of Massenet's Spanish-inspired music, which seems out of place here. For example, the music depicting the inn at Amiens has a distinctive Spanish flair - hardly evocative of a lively French inn yard of the eighteenth century. Massenet's actual ballet offerings also appear to be ignored; I only spotted a few pieces from the Thais ballet music and a waltz from "The Queen of Lahore". I surmise that hard core Massenet fans may probably find more tucked away in this score, but what IS utilized is rather lackluster and dull. The final act plays like Muzak; if one does not know the story, one would be hard-pressed to realize that at this point, the characters are experiencing separation, near rape, indentured servitude and death.
This is fine to play in the background during dinner or in the kitchen while cooking, but if I want to hear rip-roaring passion, I'll get out my various recordings of Massenet's operas, suites and symphonic works and have at it.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a3eaeb8) out of 5 stars Five Stars Dec 21 2014
By Vivian Taube - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love this ballet score. I got it for my iPod.
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a3eaf18) out of 5 stars Orchestra sounds great but I'm not wild about the conducting June 22 2007
By Dante - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
To my knowledge, this recording is the only show in town.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House plays beautifully; however, Bonynge conducts much of the music at an undanceable tempo (the opening of the scene at the Port of New Orleans is a prime example). There is virtually no rubato throughout. Bonynge never seems to breath with the phrasing. I can't see anyone dancing to many of his tempi.

I don't understand conductors who have different tempi for the concert hall and the stage. After all, the music was composed/arranged for the ballet. (I don't know whether Bonynge in particular employs different tempi, but I'd feel sorry for any company that had to dance at the tempi he's chosen.)