Boulevard Solitude

Boulevard Solitude

Boulevard Solitude

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Boulevard Solitutde is a Lyrisches Drama (lyric drama) or opera in one act by Hans Werner Henze to a German libretto by Grete Weil after the play by Walter Jockisch, in its turn a modern telling of François Prévost's Manon Lescaut. The premiere was on February 17, 1952 at the Landestheater, Hanover. It was performed for the first time in the United States at the Santa Fe Opera in 1967.

Henze’s first work of real note, the opera stands out for its use of strong jazz influence from a composer who had hitherto been associated with twelve tone technique. The piece is a reworking of the Manon Lescaut story, already adapted operatically by Auber, Massenet and Puccini, into a contemporary framework.

Although not part of the core operatic repertoire, Boulevard Solitude continues to be performed and is popular with audiences, with a London revival in 2000 going on to sell heavily despite much negative critical reception and attacks from the tabloid press.



Scene 1: The waiting room of a busy train station in a large French city.
The student Armand des Grieux meets a young woman by the name of Manon Lescaut, who is being brought to boarding school in Lausana by her brother. Armand instantly falls in love with Manon, and the two run off to Paris together.

Scene 2: An attic in Paris.
The two live together happily, although in poverty, in an attic room. Armand has been cut off by his father on account of his...
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