by Opera Charm Team
January 28, 2024

The new production, premiered at the Comunale Nouveau from 26 to 31 January, is conducted by Oksana Lyniv and directed by Leo Muscato. The performance on 26 January at 8 pm is also broadcast live on Rai Radio3.


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With Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini, on the centenary of the composer’s death, the 2024 Opera Season of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna opens. The new production, premiered at the Comunale Nouveau from Friday 26 January at 8.00 p.m. – also with a live broadcast on Rai Radio3 – is signed by director Leo Muscato, making his debut in the Bologna theatre, and sees musical director Oksana Lyniv tackle the title for the first time. The show is on repeat until 31 January.

“A year ago, when the theatre temporarily left its historical premises to move to a new location,” says Superintendent Fulvio Macciardi, “we set off on an adventure that presented many unknowns. Today, the Comunale Nouveau has become the new music space in Bologna: a place of artistic production, meeting and creativity that enriches the entire city. My heartfelt thanks go to the work and commitment of all the departments of the theatre, and a special thanks goes to our audience, who follow us and give us confidence, and to those who have supported us along this path and continue to do so every day’.

‘In 1889, the 31-year-old Puccini signed a contract with Ricordi for Manon Lescaut,’ says Oksana Lyniv, ‘and at the same time he was working on a shortened version of Wagner’s Meistersinger von Nürnberg for La Scala in Milan, coming into contact with Wagner’s harmonic experiments. The score uses the Leitmotiv technique – I am thinking of the orchestral sound and harmonic language for the description of the emotional world of Manon Lescaut and De Grieux, which are inspired by Tristan and Isolde – but it is also enriched by quotations from Puccini’s early operas, which reflect the spirit of the era in which the story is set”.

According to the director’s vision, in the four acts of the opera, the protagonists are always on the verge of leaving, or running away from something, or someone. ‘It is as if the earth were burning under their feet,’ says Leo Muscato, ‘and preventing them from stopping and reasoning about the consequences of their actions. For this reason, what holds the four different places of our staging together is precisely the burning earth, it is precisely the desert, a metaphorical place that in Puccini’s opera arrives in Act IV. The character of Manon is a soul in constant oscillation between opposite emotional extremes. At times she is a force of nature, animated by a contagious joy and an irrepressible desire for adventure and love; at other times she sinks into an emotional darkness that makes her appear tormented and vulnerable and in need of protection. It takes her a few seconds to decide to flee to her destiny by following a stranger she met a few minutes earlier. Her frantic escape with Des Grieux,’ the director concludes, ‘turns into an astonishing sexual alchemy that sweeps them both away in a whirlwind of emotions and impulses, and transforms their love into a toxic relationship, in which each manages to bring out the worst in the other’.

Awarded best director first by theatre critics, in 2007, and then by music critics, in 2012, today Muscato collaborates with the most prestigious Italian opera stages: from the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome to La Scala in Milan. In the new Bologna production, the sets are by Federica Parolini, the costumes are by Silvia Aymonino and the lighting by Alessandro Verazzi.

Debuting in the title role is soprano Erika Grimaldi, recently applauded in Bologna in Giordano’s Andrea Chénier and Verdi’s Forza del destino, joined on stage by tenor Luciano Ganci (as Renato Des Grieux) and baritone Claudio Segura (as Lescaut). In the performances on 27 and 31 January, these three characters are instead played by Lana Kos, Roberto Aronica and Gustavo Castillo. The cast is completed by Giacomo Prestia as Geronte di Ravoir, Paolo Antognetti as Edmondo, Kwangsik Park as the Innkeeper and the Sergeant of the archers, Bruno Lazzaretti as Il maestro di ballo, Aloisa Aisemberg as Un musico, Cristiano Olivieri as Un lampionaio and Costantino Finucci as Il comandante di marina. The Orchestra and Chorus – prepared by Gea Garatti Ansini – are those of the Bologna Opera and Symphony Foundation.

After the great success of the première at the Teatro Regio in Turin on 1 February 1893, Manon Lescaut debuted at the Comunale in Bologna on 4 November of that same year with equally positive results (and no fewer than eighteen performances).This was Puccini’s third opera, following his convincing debut with Le Villi and the uncertain reception given to Edgar. The opera drama in four acts with a libretto by an anonymous author, to which Puccini himself, Giuseppe Giacosa, Luigi Illica, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Domenico Oliva, Marco Praga and Giulio Ricordi collaborated, was written between 1889 and 1892.The subject, based on the novel Histoire du Chevalier Des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by François-Antoine Prévost, had already aroused the interest of two other composers before Puccini: the Frenchmen Daniel Auber and Jules Massenet. Manon Lescaut has been missing from the Bologna theatre season since 2002.

Opening partner of the performance is Gruppo Hera. “We firmly confirm our support for the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, one of the territory’s most significant cultural excellences – states Giuseppe Gagliano, Central Director of Communications and External Relations of the multiutility – and we are very pleased to hold the opera that inaugurates the Comunale Nouveau’s 2024 season, in the temporary venue that we helped set up to allow the city to continue to enjoy a rich, stimulating and absolutely valuable artistic and musical offer”.

Tickets – from €25 to €150 – are on sale online via Vivaticket and at the Teatro Comunale box office, open Tuesday to Friday from 12 noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Largo Respighi, 1); on show days at the Comunale Nouveau (Piazza della Costituzione, 4) from one hour before and up to 15 minutes after the start.


Starting from the performances of Manon Lescaut, on the ceiling of the Foyer of the Comunale Nouveau will be visible the new permanent site-specific installation made of mirrors created by the duo Antonello Ghezzi, entitled Ed intanto la mia testa, curated by the Teatro Comunale. The work is meant to ideally accompany the audience towards the stalls: “We are spectators but also protagonists – explain the two artists – because if we look up, we are there between the words of Rossini’s Cenerentola, and that entangled knot is love, but it is also our life, in which we are all groping towards the dark air. Fortunately, thanks to the feelings we have and thanks to theatre, we can finally begin to delirious, to dream and to remember that we are at the same time spectators, protagonists, extras and playwrights. We are here and now, we are in a new theatre but one that carries with it all the history of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna’.

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Opera Charm Team
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Opera Charm Team

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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