Manon review, ENB, Manchester Opera House: a truly irresistible tragedy

Alina Cojocaru and Joseph Caley in English National Ballet's Manon
Alina Cojocaru and Joseph Caley in English National Ballet's Manon Credit: Laurent Liotardo

Britain is being treated to a remarkable feast of Kenneth MacMillan at the moment. Less than a fortnight after the Royal Ballet’s Mayerling (1978) opened at Covent Garden comes a pungent revival of another dark, technically and psychologically groundbreaking romantic tragedy of his, 1974’s Manon.

Of the two (and it is very much a clash of titans), Manon – adapted from Abbé Prévost’s 1731 novel – is probably the greater: slightly shorter, tauter, and with an even greater superabundance of choreographic invention. It is also a ballet seldom seen outside London: this is indefatigable touring company English National Ballet’s first staging of it in almost 10 years, making this revival a particularly...

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