Saturday, February 12, 2011

Man, oh Manon!

Every weekend sees the KSO in a different role in the local arts scene, and this weekend it’s a collaboration with the Knoxville Opera Company in Jules Massenet’s Manon.

Knoxville was visited by another woman named Manon in the early 90's. Those who follow local ice hockey will remember a goalie named Manon Rheaume, a trailblazer who sought to break the gender barrier (the ice ceiling?) in men’s pro hockey. (I have faith that some Symphony-goers are also fans of Knoxville Ice Bears, formerly the Cherokees. If not, work with me). She is known as the “First Lady of Hockey,” but for all intents and purposes read that as “the Only Woman of Hockey.” Her early career reads like a tour of the South; perhaps her Quebecois childhood made her long for the warm southern clime.

-1992 Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)
-1992–93 Atlanta Knights (IHL)
-1993 Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)
-1993-1994 Knoxville Cherokees (ECHL)
-1993–1994 Nashville Knights (ECHL)
-1994 Tallahassee Tiger Sharks (ECHL)

In the KOC’s production of Manon, the goal-oriented heroine covers some ground, too- although in a different kind of game. You can guess that since Monday is Valentine’s Day, the game is love.

-Act One: Manon withstands the advances of an aging rake, Guillot.
Manon shuns life in a convent and falls in love with Chevalier Des Grieux.
-Act Two: Manon chooses a secure life with wealthy landowner Bretigny.
Manon withstands the advances of Guillot. Again.
-Act Three: Manon longs for Des Grieux, who has entered seminary school, and leaves
Bretigny to dissuade Des Grieux from the priesthood. They run off together.
Manon withstands the advances of Guillot. Again.
-Act Four: You’ll have to find this out for yourself!

Massenet’s score is rich and romantic, soprano Talise Trevigne’s portrayal of the title role caps off a brilliant cast, and the grandeur of the Tennessee Theatre itself proves to be a character in this drama. The remaining show is Sunday, Feb. 13 at 2:30. Hope to see you there!

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