"Documenting Renee Fleming's seminal portrayal of Massenet's heroine in a superlative Paris Opera production. Manon demands a lyric soprano with a high coloratura extension as well as dramatic fullness and breadth. Fleming fills the bill in every way, and she is strongly supported by the idiomatic conducting of Jesus Lopez-Cobos and the traditional, utterly convincing staging of Gilbert Deflo.
The entire recording, in fact, is nothing short of superlative...The DVD provides a total home theater experience of this work not previously attained. Fleming is surrounded by splendid singers and convincing singing actors. Marcelo Alvarez is a romantic tenor who can pour out passionate lyric lines and melt into the most tender thread of pianissimo, while Jean-Luc Chaignaud portrays Manon's cousin, Lescaut, with swaggering style and insinuating enunciation. It's hard to imagine a better personification of the elder des Grieux than the commanding figure and resonant bass of Alain Vernhes, nor a more vivid character singer than septuagenarian Michel Senechal as the foppish Guillot.
And so on down the line...This recording is a classic that should stand as a document of this work for decades to come. Four stars."