Jules Massenet

The mirage of fame

Manon is a young Parisian woman who dreams of fame and riches. One day, Des Grieux crosses her path, an attractive gentleman, but one with a small defect—he’s not rich.
This is the premise behind Massenet’s opera based on the novel of the same name by Abad Prévost which will help us reflect upon the inner conflict between the head and the heart.
With the aim of dissecting and understanding the avatars and determinations of our protagonist, we interview random people who, at some point in their lives, have had to make a crucial decision in terms of their relationship situation. We also perform an experiment with neurologist Antonio Casals who explains how our brains function when we have to make a difficult choice.
To talk about love, money and vanity, we chat with photographer Jorge Represa—who spent decades photographing many international celebrities—and with American multi-millionaire Jacqueline Siegel, known as the Queen of Versailles, who, like our heroine, dreamed of marrying a rich man. In her case, she did it, although her story is far from being a cake walk.
We talk to the great tenor Roberto Alagna about the human condition—so well reflected in Prévost’s novel and so paradoxically scandalous for its time—a tenor who has played the character of Manon’s great love, Des Grieux, on several occasions. And Alagna will delight us with one of his character’s most famous arias accompanied by our host, Ramon Gener.

"Manon" Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, 2007 ZDF, ARTE, UNITEL
"Manon" Wiener Staatsoper, 2007 ORF, UNITEL
Footage: apelavi -

Antonio Casals
Jorge Represa
Jacqueline Siegel
Roberto Alagna