Theatre in Wales

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Is your name Manon?     

Is your name Manon? To celebrate the arrival of Manon, the acclaimed production from English National Ballet, Wales Millennium Centre is offering a free pair of tickets to anyone with the name Manon.
Innocent girl or femme fatale, Manon is young, beautiful and nave, and she is in love. Caught between two men vying for her affection, Manon becomes entangled in a web of passion, love and vanity, unable to choose. Student Renato des Grieux offers a pure love, but the promises and extravagance of Monsieur GM entice Manon to the life of a courtesan. Kenneth MacMillan's thrilling tragedy brings to life Manon Lescaut, the 1731 novel by Abb Prvost. Music from Jules Massenet accompanies Manon as she weaves her way through the decadence and darkness of enlightened 18th century Paris.
As well as being a renowned ballet, Manon is also a much-loved girl's name here in Wales. It means 'wished-for-child' or 'queen, paragon of beauty'. The name is also popular in France, where it is a diminutive of Marie, itself a version of Mary, which means bitter or bitterness.
Famous Welsh Manons include:
• Manon Eames, the playwright, author and actress
• Manon Williams, sister of Ffion Hague and the Deputy  Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales at Clarence House
• Manon Rhys, the script writer and novelist
• Manon Jenkins, the main character in The Rowan Tree, by novelist Iris Gower.
Other notable Manons include:
         Manon Des Sources, the Bafta-nominated 1986 film.
         Manon, the opera by Jules Massenet, also based on Prevost's book.
         Manon Lescaut, the opera by Giacomo Puccini, also based on Prvost's book,
         Manon Rhaume, the Canadian ice hockey goalkeeper and Olympic Silver Medalist.
If your name is Manon and you'd like to see the performance, you can claim a complementary pair of free tickets by calling 08700 40 2000 and quoting the code 1825. You may be asked for identification to prove you are, in fact, called Manon.
The arrival of Manon at Wales Millennium Centre is a rare chance to see a work that has not been performed outside of London for 20 years, and its first staging by English National Ballet. Created for the Royal Ballet by Kenneth MacMillan in 1974 its exciting lead roles have attracted dancers from across the world. However, the terms of Kenneth MacMillan's estate have meant the ballet has previously been restricted to London and the Royal Ballet. The chance to see this work bought to life in Cardiff by English National Ballet's company of 67 international dancers is of a lot of importance to classical music and opera interest.
''no danger of Manon-fatigue, thanks to English National Ballet's entirely fresh
approach'stylish monochrome colour scheme, tinged with crimson and cobalt like
a hand-tinted engraving' ' The Sunday Telegraph
''an epic work of art that was simply stunning.' ' The Sunday Express
'Agnes Oaks'gave the performance of her life as a heedless, Bardot-like babe,
only half-aware of the potency of her charm. Every glance, every step was in the
service of the character'Technique undiminished, dramatic powers nearing their
peak, Oaks is entering a golden phase in her career'.she can exit on this
deliciously dirty high.'
The Sunday Telegraph on Agnes Oaks as Manon
The Cardiff dates are also among the last opportunities to see Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur perform. The real-life husband and wife play Manon and Des Grieux and have been described by The Sunday Telegraph as 'one of the great ballet partnerships'. After the Cardiff dates, they will perform Manon just once more in Modena, followed by a performance of Les Sylphides at St Paul's Cathedral on June 30, before retiring from the company.
Agnes wants to concentrate on starting a family, and Thomas will be taking up a position as Artistic Director of the National Opera Ballet of Estonia, where they are both from. The couple have danced together for almost 20 years, 19 of those at English National Ballet, where they first joined as newly-weds.
Manon will be performed at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, from 29 April to May 2 at 7.30pm and at 2pm on April 30. Tickets cost between £10 and £35. To book tickets, call the box office on 08700 40 2000 or book online at
wales millennium centre  
web site

Thursday, April 2, 2009back



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