Original Air Date: 03/17/1990
Santi; Freni, Dvorsk, Schexnayder, Tajo
This is Freni’s only Met broadcast of Manon Lescaut (she did three performances in 1984 as well), and she is one of my favorite Manons even though she is well into the veteran stage.
Dvorsky is acceptable, but not lots of good Des Grieux available in 1990 (a much more challenging part than the Massenet). Santi understands the tradition well, but I prefer Mitropoulos or Levine, both of whom are much more animated.
3/16/12 – Freni was a wonderful Manon Lescaut, but she saved it for close to the end of her career. Luckily she made a great recording with Pavarotti and Levine under Met auspices (Bartoli as the madrigal singer! Taddei as Lescaut) Still, she’s a fine Manon Lescaut, and deserves a better supporting cast and conductor than she gets.
Manon Lescaut is one Puccini that is not overdone so I always look forward to hearing it, and the Met has some great broadcasts including two Bjorlings that have been on Sirius and are in MetOpera on Demand.

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