Houston Ballet To Premiere 40th Season With Revival Of ‘Manon’
Houston Ballet is set to launch its 40th season with a revival of the epic love story “Manon,” choreographed by the late Sir Kenneth MacMillan and featuring scenery and costumes by the acclaimed British designer Peter Farmer.
Houston Ballet will give six performances of “Manon” at the Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston Sept. 10 – 20.
Based on the famous eighteenth century French novel “Manon Lescaut” by Abbé Prévost, the ballet depicts the romantic adventures of the beautiful Manon and her one true love, the impoverished student Des Grieux, from the demi monde of Paris to the bayous of Louisiana.
Before his death in 1992, MacMillan said he created “Manon” because “The characters fascinate me.”
“You have a sixteen-year-old heroine who is beautiful and totally amoral, and a hero who is corrupted by her and becomes a cheat, a liar and a murderer. Not exactly your conventional ballet plot, is it?” MacMillan commented.
Launching Houston Ballet’s 40th anniversary season with “Manon” is an acknowledgment of the key role MacMillan played in Houston Ballet’s history and his influence on Houston Ballet’s repertoire during his time as the company’s artistic associate from 1989 until his passing in 1992.
During that time, Houston Ballet took five of his works into its repertoire, including the one-act ballets “Song of the Earth,” “Gloria,” “Elite Syncopations” and “Solitaire,” as well as the full-length “Manon.”
Houston Ballet has since become the leading exponent of MacMillan’s works in America. His widow, Lady Deborah MacMillan, who oversees the staging of MacMillan’s work throughout the world, has served as a member of the national committee of the board of Houston Ballet Foundation since the mid-1990s.
MacMillan created “Manon” in 1974 for England’s The Royal Ballet. Since its premiere, “Manon” has received critical acclaim in performances by Paris Opera Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, The Australian Ballet, English National Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada.
Houston Ballet first performed “Manon” in 1994, and revived the work in 1998 and in 2002. Houston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre are the only American companies that perform the work.
Houston Ballet’s performances of “Manon” are underwritten by The Wortham Foundation.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 713-227-2787 or online at www.houstonballet.org.