Hans Werner Henze (born 1926) is considered as one of the world's greatest living composers. He is particularly well known for his works for the stage.
His Boulevard Solitude is the musical theatre version of Puccini’s opera Manon Lescaut with a libretto by the German author Grete Weil. It was Henze's first stage success in 1952 and it marked the start of an international career when he was just 26 years old.
Musically it stands out for its strong jazz influence and dramatically speaking it is a modern adaptation of Prévost's early 18th century novel.
This staging - recorded live in Barcelona in March 2007 - is a co-production between the Gran Teatro del Liceu and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, which revived the piece to great critical acclaim and huge public attention with this production in 2000.
The immediate inspiration for the composer was the film Manon by Henri-Georges Clouzot (winner of the Venice Film Festival in 1949), which without a doubt inspired director Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s interpretation as well. Strong visual images in realistic 1950s sets and costumes by Tobias Hoheisel and the choreography by Denni Sayers add to a cinematic effect.
Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s production won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for best opera production in 2002. Internationally renowned singer-actors Laura Aikin and Pär Lindskog in the main roles of Manon and Grieux ensure an audiovisually excellent opera recording.
Hans Werner Henze: Boulevard Solitude