Before I secured reviewer tickets to Manon Lescaut with the one and only Jonas Kaufmann, I was worried that I might not get to see it. After all, I am not always granted tickets to everything I want to review. After I tweeted desperately about my predicament, a Twitter acquaintance (the wonderful @sasherka) offered me a spare ticket in the gallery for the December 7 performance. So I returned to Manon Lescaut yesterday for closing night, and all I can say is, “wow.” If that had been the opening night, I’d have given it five stars. Six, if that were a thing. Kaufmann and Opolais were so much more intense than back in November, and the whole opera was more emotionally affecting.
There were two other benefits of seeing Manon Lescaut again. One: lots of Twitter people were there last night, ranging in age from 20s to 50s and in countries of origin from the U.S. to Germany, Switzerland, England, and Russia! We swapped impressions and complaints at intermission, and some kind members of the flock sneaked me into a better standing room place for the second half. We also shared tales from the opera-going trenches over food and drink afterwards. Two: I met Jonas Kaufmann! I didn’t faint! (I did blush furiously.) It was only a quick meeting (there was a long queue at the stage door), but he signed my program book (as did Opolais) and assured me that he received the gummy bears I sent backstage on opening night. He laughed about how many I sent (two kilos). I didn’t get a picture with him because of the queue (sigh—someday!), but here’s my signed program!