Having never seen a full ballet performance by the American Ballet Theater I jumped at the chance with 50% discount from Goldstar NY. The tickets were for Manon which I knew nothing about other than seeing a pas de deux at the Met Gala a few weeks ago.
Manon tells the story of a young woman named Manon who has two older, wealthy suitors and then meets a young man, Des Grieux. He’s immediately smitten and she, in turn, falls madly in love with him. The two run off together to Paris. Her brother finds her there and tells her that her life (and his) would be better if she settled for money over love. Who she chooses and its outcome is the essence of this ballet.
It’s a silly, simple story but the choreography is sensational and the dancing was sublime. The pas de deux between Manon and Des Grieux that takes place in his bedroom in Paris is probably the most beautiful I have ever seen. While declaring her love, Manon seems possessed and they seem to lose themselves in one another. This piece as sensuous as it was breathtaking. The stunning choreography is certainly a big part of it, but Xiomara Reyes, as Manon, and Kevin Jackson, from The Australian Ballet, make you believe that this love is real and deeper than anything you could imagine.
Manon is a long — a bit more than two and a half hours and three acts. So when Act Two ended with a dramatic shooting and the curtain went down, the audience got up (including my friend and I). Luckily, before we exited the Metropolitan Opera House an usher informed us the final denoument had not yet occured. LAR
The American Ballet Theater, Metropolitan Opera House, 30 Lincoln Center
Runs through June 7, 2014
Discounted tickets currently not available
Ticket prices $20-$235