Choice: Opera: Manon

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Manon, The Coliseum, London WC2 (0171-632 8300) 7pm

Altogether too many people used to sneer at Massenet. "Far too lightweight" or French stuff and nonsense seemed to be the popular prejudice. It's true that not every bar the man wrote should be sanctified, but the good stuff is very good and his range, from the post-Wagnerian splendour of Esclarmonde to the comedy of Don Quichotte, is really surprising. In the last few years, Massenet fans have been able to relish a revival in the composer's fortunes with Cendrillon at WNO and Tim Albery's colour-drenched Cherubin at Covent Garden and now David McVicar has come up with a marvellously directed new Manon for ENO. It's like watching a superbly orchestrated crowd scene. The huge Coliseum stage is crammed with telling incident and detail picked out by Paule Constable's piercing shafts of light. John Hudson is on excellent form as Des Grieux and Paul Daniel brings out all the lushness of the score. That's entertainment.

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