Synopsis by Craig Butler
Puccini's Manon Lescaut opens at an inn in Amiens, where a group of poor students are reveling. One of these, Des Grieux, tells another, Edmondo, that he is impervious to the temptation of love. Soon after, a beautiful young girl, Manon, arrives with her brother, Lescaut and an older tax collector, Geronte, all of whom have been traveling by coach. At her father's insistence, Manon is on her way to a convent; however, Geronte is planning to steal her away and force her to be his mistress. Des Grieux and Manon meet and fall in love with each other. Learning of Geronte's plans, Des Grieux convinces Manon to elope with him. Geronte and Lescaut hatch a plot to steal Manon away from Des Grieux, which succeeds. After some time, however, Manon grows discontented with being Geronte's mistress. Des Grieux makes a surprise visit and wins Manon back. To get revenge, Geronte has the police deport Manon, who attempted to leave with some of the old man's jewels. She is jailed, awaiting deportation to Louisiana, and a plan to help her escape fails. Des Grieux begs to be allowed to join her on board the ship bound for America, even if he must serve as a cabin boy. In New Orleans, the poor lovers cannot find a means of supporting themselves. They wander aimlessly, until Manon, exhausted and broken, dies in Des Grieux's embrace.
deportation, elopement, mistress, poverty, revenge, ship, tax-collector