, July 2019
…The Royal Ballet fields a supporting cast with great strength in depth. Ryoichi Hirano is superb in the role of Manon’s amoral brother and particularly delights the Covent Garden audience in the comically drunken dance he shares with his on-stage mistress Itziar Mendizabal. Meanwhile, Gary Avis portrays the seedy, perpetually sneering but highly dangerous Monsieur G.M. most effectively, and Thomas Whitehead is equally repulsive as he reprises his role, first seen on the Rojo/Acosta recording, of the sexually-exploitative Louisiana gaoler.
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House delivers Martin Yates’s orchestration of the score with aplomb and authority, which is hardly surprising as Mr Yates himself leads its members in the pit.
This new version now eclipses both of its Covent Garden predecessors, as well as the competition from France and Australia, to become the preferred version of Kenneth MacMillan’s frequently bleak, morally challenging but highly entertaining and rewarding ballet. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review