Eight performances of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon are scheduled to begin 17 June 2019 during American Ballet Theatre’s 2019 Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, with Hee Seo in the title role, Roberto Bolle as Des Grieux, Stella Abrera as Lescaut’s Mistress and James Whiteside as Lescaut.
Bolle will give his farewell performance with ABT in the ballet on 20 June.
The company first performed the ballet on 28 May 1993 with Alessandra Ferri as Manon, Julio Bocca as Des Grieux, Gil Boggs as Lescaut, Kathleen Moore as Lescaut’s Mistress, Michael Owen as Monsieur G.M., Victor Barbee as Jailer and Georgina Parkinson as Madame. Principal Dancer Julio Bocca danced his final performance with ABT in the role of Des Grieux on 22 June 2006.
Manon was last performed by ABT in 2014 when Bolle danced with Julie Kent. It has been something of his signature role with the company as his ABT debut was as Des Grieux opposite Alessandra Ferri in 2007, after which Roslyn Sulcas for The New York Times wrote,
Ms. Ferri and Mr. Bolle, who have frequently danced together, have chemistry in spades, and their first-act bedroom pas de deux, with its ecstatic lifts and rapturous embraces, made a seamless and moving poem of the choreography. (At the end, both dancers fell flat to the floor after the final embrace, exhausted and exhilarated.)
Mr. Bolle also gave a remarkable account of his character’s opening solo, an extremely difficult series of adagio extensions, almost academic in their demand for perfect body placement and control. But nothing seems to hold much fear for Mr. Bolle, a dancer of Greek-god proportions and virile intensity who also has a plush, feline grace and a beautiful line — that perfectly aligned fingertip-to-toetip stretch of the body so important to ballet.
Recent performances as Des Grieux include performances at The Royal Ballet last year with Marianela Nuñez, and until a few days ago he was dancing the role at La Scala with Svetlana Zakharova.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.