Alina Cojocaru and Isaac Hernandez © Jason Bell

In a rare treat for ballet lovers, this autumn the English National Ballet will present Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon outside London for only the second time in 30 years – and it’s coming to Manchester Opera House.

A full-blooded ballet of love, decadence and passion, famous for its expressive choreography and dramatic challenge, Manon features some of the most demanding roles in ballet. 

The story sees young and naïve Manon torn between two lives: privilege and opulence with the wealthy Monsieur GM, or innocent love with the penniless student Des Grieux. Wanting it all will be her downfall.

Aristocrats and beggars, courtesans and harlots fill the stage as the audience is taken from a gambling den in 18th-century Paris to a desolate Louisiana swamp.

It’s one of British ballet’s most dramatic stories – and this new tour has already been tipped as one of autumn’s unmissable events by The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday.

Photo: Patrick Baldwin

The ballet is based on the 18th-century novel Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost. It was banned when it first came out in 1731, before becoming hugely popular on the back of pirated copies.

Manon’s story has since gone on to inspire numerous adaptations, including operas by Massenet and Puccini and a film by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

Photo: Laurent Liotardo

This production will be accompanied by Jules Massenet’s haunting music, performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

It’s a rare opportunity to see this passionate ballet masterpiece, with its beautiful, impulsive and captivating heroine, in the ornate surroundings of Manchester Opera House’s proscenium arch.

Manon is at the Opera House from Wednesday 17th October until Saturday 20th October 2018.

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