Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Obtain 10% discount


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


piano music Vol 4


Songs of Love and Sorrow

Thomas Agerfeldt OLESEN
Cello Concerto

The female in Music




From Ocean’s Floor



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Manon (orch and arr by Leighton Lucas) for Kenneth MacMillan’s three-act ballet
Manon - Tamara Rojo
Des Grieux - Carlos Acosta
Lescaut - José Martín
Monsieur G.M - .Christopher Saunders
Lescaut’s Mistress - Laura Morera
The Royal Ballet
The Orchestra of the Royal Ballet/Martin Yates
Filmed on October 24 and 1 November 2008 at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden
With bonus materials including interviews.
DECCA 074 3346 [117:00 (ballet) + 45:00 (bonus)]

Experience Classicsonline
This new version of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet, Manon, is a sumptuous production with two fabulous leads: the stunningly beautiful and supremely graceful Tamara Rojo as Manon and the athletic yet sensitive Carlos Acosta as Des Grieux. They have a vital sense of theatre and drama and their dancing is wondrous. I used excerpts from this DVD, in the week I am writing this review, at a UK WEA (Workers’ Education Association) Day School I held in Winchester. It spellbound the 36+ audience.

Those expecting Massenet's lovely music from his opera, Manon, will be disappointed for dancer-turned-composer Leighton Lucas and MacMillan selected music with strong dancing rhythms from other Massenet's works. Lucas (with the collaboration of Hilda Gaunt) assembled the ballet score from 45 fragments of Massenet’s music. Massenet was a prolific composer of over a dozen operas, ballets and orchestral music plus oratorios and some 200 songs, so there was plenty of source material to mine. It might be said that MacMillan’s ballet helped to launch a revival of interest in this unjustly neglected composer.

This tragic lyric ballet tells a moving tale of corrupted innocence in which the lovely Manon plunges from happiness to grief because of her fatal craving for luxury at the expense of love. The story of the ballet is based on the classic French novel, Manon Lescaut, by Abbé Prévost, or to give it its proper title, Mémoires et aventures d'un homme qualité. This hot-blooded opus had already been used as a basis for an opera by Massenet with the same title as this ballet. Puccini was to compose his first big hit, his opera, Manon Lescaut, based on other scenes from Prévost’s novella.

In this Royal Ballet production, costumes, scenery and lighting feast the eye. MacMillan’s genius shines everywhere, in his acute observation of character and traits transformed so sharply into dance. Take the evolution of the relationship of Manon and Des Griex. As they meet they are young and rather naïve and innocent. In Act 1 their dancing together, with tender ‘travelling lifts’ has the freshness and exhilaration of new-found love. In the next scene in their love nest, the intimacy and ecstasy of their dance movements leaves no doubt that they are now consummated lovers blissfully aware of each other’s bodies. After Des Grieux leaves, and her brother Lescaut and her rich admirer, G.M., come to entice her away with jewels and furs, the mood and movements descend to degradation as Manon abandons love for riches. In this amazing pas de trois, Tamara Rojo’s figures here are so elastic and snake-like sinuous, that one would imagine she is made of india-rubber. In the end Manon’s rapaciousness catches up with her and she descends through remorse to ruin when she is deported as a prostitute and a thief to the New World. Her final dance with Des Grieux with whom she has run off into the Louisiana swamps after his victorious duel, graphically declares her weakness and despair in Rojo’s heavier mournful movements.

The principals are ably supported especially by José Martín as Manon’s dissolute brother Lescaut and Laura Morera as his mistress. Their hilarious, tipsy dances together are a highlight of Act II’s first scene and these dances are another tribute to MacMillan’s keenly observed choreography. The Corps de Ballet’s characterisations also shine in this scene.

DVD 1 includes a 45 minute documentary on the production of the ballet with comments from the two principals and memories of Kenneth MacMillan and his methods of working from former ballet stars who worked in the original production. MacMillan’s Manon was first performed in 1974 at Covent Garden with Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell.

A truly spellbinding production with superb dancing from Rojo and Acosta.

Ian and Grace Lace


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.