Milano: G. Ricordi & C., . Octavo. Original publisher's wrappers with titling within decorative blue border. 1f. (title),  (named cast list),  (blank),  (preface),  (blank), -61, [ii] (advertisements), [i] (blank) pp. With decorative head- and tailpieces throughout.
Ricordi blindstamp, dated February 1893, to lower inner margins of initial leaves.
Wrappers soiled and slightly worn; detached. Slightly browned; two outer bifolia detached with minor tears to blank inner margins, not affecting text.
First edition, second issue. Fuld pp. 190-91. The present copy is identical to those cited in Fuld, except for the date stamp (Fuld's are stamped January 1893) and the mention of the date of the first performance in the present copy.
First performed in Turin, Italy on February 1, 1893. With libretto by Luigi Illica (1857-1919).
"With Manon Lescaut, Puccini’s genius caught fire. After the near-failure of Edgar, he resolutely tackled the problem of drama in music postulated by Wagner, combining the technique of the leitmotif with the Italian concept of the dramma in musica, in which melody was the main support. In the first act of Manon Lescaut Puccini went beyond the limits of the genre, skilfully adapting symphonic structures to the demand of the action. The thematic material used in the opera sets up a network of relationships, linking characters to real situations and emotions, with the result that the music often plays a dominant part, freeing itself from the requirements of the narrative to suggest sophisticated symbolic associations... A masterpiece of late Romanticism, the fourth act of Manon Lescaut brings to mind the endings of Don Carlos and Aida. At the same time it makes evident the enormous difference separating it from the melodramme of Verdi, in which death was the only option for characters prevented from realizing their legitimate earthly aspirations. ‘I do not want to die’, Manon cries in her isolation. Until the end, the lovers look for impossible ways of escape, because the only certainty is life. Such values, desperate and sensual, belong to the restless fin-de-siècle." Gabriella Biagi Ravenni and Michele Girardi in Grove Music Online. Item #26735
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