'Manon' mania spreads as new Royal Ballet season starts

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'Manon' mania spreads as new Royal Ballet season starts

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Marking the prestigious opening night of the Royal Ballet’s new season, 'Manon' is one of the London West End's must-have tickets.

The acclaimed tragic ballet is being restaged in the original version of late choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

Although the story is predominantly known as an opera by Jules Massenet, the ballet production by MacMillan premiered at the Royal Opera House in 1974 to considerable acclaim.

Kevin O’Hare, director of the Royal Ballet, said: “It’s the 40th anniversary of ‘Manon’. So 40 years ago, Kenneth [MacMillan] created what really is a signature work for the [Royal Ballet] Company. I feel the reason it is a signature work is because it concentrates very much in portraying the story and getting that across to the public.”

In 1974, Royal Ballet soloists Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell played the lead roles in the original.

The pair are now helping restage the show along with MacMillan’s widow, who has been instrumental in helping preserve her husband’s legacy.

“It’s wonderful for me to see young dancers coming on in the roles and the generosity of the older dancers that come along to coach and hand over a role that they have made a fantastic statement with. And they’ll want somebody who is coming along to be as good as and if not better then they were, which you don’t find in many of the arts, actually,” said Lady Deborah MacMillan.

‘Manon’ plays at London’s Royal Opera House until November 1.

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