Boston University College of Fine Arts Presents Le portrait de Manon

in CFA, Music, Theatre
October 4th, 2012

16th Annual Fringe Festival: “The Ladies of the Camellias” opens this weekend
with a special presentation from the Opera Institute of Jules Massenet’s beloved opera.

Boston, MA– For 16 years the Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA)’s annual Fringe Festival has continued to be a popular fixture in the CFA’s fall event schedule. A collaboration between the School of Music Opera Institute and the School of Theatre, this year’s festival runs October 6-26 at Boston University Theatre. Kicking off the 16th Annual Fringe Festival: “The Ladies of the Camellias” is Jules Massenet’s Le Portrait de Manon.

Le Portrait de Manon
Saturday, October 6, 2pm, 8pm*
Sunday, October 7, 2pm, 7pm
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210

Jules Massenet, composer
Georges Bayer, librettist
Allison Voth, music director and pianist
David Gately, guest stage director

*Evening performance includes a post-show discussion with the directors, cast, and design team.

Directed by Guest Stage Director David Gately and CFA’s Allison Voth, this year’s festival kicks off with Jules Massenet’s opera Le Portrait de Manon, a one-act continuation to his popular opera Manon. A decade after the success of Manon, Massenet returns to the story of the Chevalier Des Grieux and the lost love of his youth. Now an aging and solitary man, well-versed in the power of love, he refuses to grant his nephew permission to marry, and finds himself at risk of repeating mistakes of the past.

“It was a wonderful surprise to be offered the chance to direct the ‘sequel’ to Manon,” says David Gately, Guest Stage Director. “Despite my long association with the work, Portrait was a totally new work to me, and it was a delight to discover that there was ‘life after Manon’ for the character of the Chevalier Des Grieux…He has moved on from being a young, impressionable, romantic tenor,” continued Gately. “And has become a rather cynical and somewhat bitter baritone.”

Arguably, one of Massenet’s greatest works, this one-act opera with emotional detail, and a staggeringly beautiful melody. Musical quotations from Manon are sprinkled throughout, reminding us of Des Grieux’s past love and passion for the woman.
“Le Portrait de Manon is a gem,” says Allison Voth, Associate Professor and Principal Coach at the Opera Institute, and Music Director and Pianist for Portrait. “Massenet brilliantly weaves in thematic material from his earlier Manon. In this opera, voices soar, and emotions rise. What will win out: bitterness or love?

“This opera has provided a fantastic opportunity for our young and talented singers to both sing and speak in French — the latter a decided challenge,” continued Voth. “They have embraced the experience and have made this title gem of an opera come alive. The story is charming and the music, simply gorgeous.”

The Fringe Festival: “The Ladies of the Camellias” continues with the full-length play Camille by Pam Gems, based on La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas, the tale of a doomed love affair between a Parisian courtesan and a country nobleman. The festival concludes with a unique presentation featuring extensive portions of Verdi’s La Traviata combined with excerpts from Gems’ Camille.

The BU Fall Fringe Festival was founded in 1997 with the goal of cultivating a broader audience for opera. A collaborative effort between designers, directors, singers, and actors from BU’s School of Music Opera Institute and School of Theatre, the Festival was built around the desire to present an unconventional repertoire within a distinguished performance experience.

All performances will tie into CFA’s Keyword Initiative, commencing its second year, which focuses on the theme of resilience. Performances, lectures, collaborations, and discussion will explore the buoyancy of the human spirit in times of war, tragedy, hardship, suffering, and oppression – including the longitudinal vitality of Camille in the face of a doomed love affair, a presentation of Vik Muniz’s photographic portraits made from trash and captured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Waste Land (10/5,) and a BU Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus concert depicting the tenacious fortitude and patriotism displayed by Americans through wartime and political turmoil (11/19.)

Learn more about the 16th Annual Fringe Festival at


Tickets now on sale: $7 General Admission. BU community: One free ticket with BU ID at the door, day of performance, subject to availability. Click here to buy tickets online, or call 617.933.8600.


264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02215

Getting There:
T Green Line, E line, Symphony stop
T Orange Line, Mass Ave stop

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission. The Boston University College of Fine Arts was created in 1954 to bring together the School of Music, the School of Theatre, and the School of Visual Arts. The University’s vision was to create a community of artists in a conservatory-style school offering professional training in the arts to both undergraduate and graduate students, complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students. Since those early days, education at the College of Fine Arts has begun on the BU campus and extended into the city of Boston, a rich center of cultural, artistic and intellectual activity.

The School of Music at the College of Fine Arts was established in 1872 to combine the intimacy and intensity of conservatory training with a broadly based, traditional liberal arts education at the undergraduate level and intense coursework at the graduate level. The school offers degrees in performance composition and theory, musicology, music education, collaborative piano, historical performance, as well as a certificate program in its Opera Institute, and artist and performance diplomas.

The School of Theatre at the College of Fine Arts was established in 1954 as one of the country’s leading institutions for the study of acting, stage management, design and production, and all aspects of the theatrical profession. Since 1982, the School of Theatre has enjoyed an educational and artistic collaboration with Huntington Theatre Company, the professional theatre-in-residence at Boston University. The School of Theatre is a conservatory-style training program within the larger liberal arts programs at Boston University, and values collaboration, a rigorous curriculum, artistic growth, and the exploration of new possibilities for theatre.

The Opera Institute at the School of Music at the College is an intensive, highly selective two-year performance-based training program for emerging operatic artists. A professional faculty and renowned guest artists provide personal support and training in all areas pertinent to a career in opera — voice, acting, languages, movement styles, and business strategies. In addition, the Opera Institute also selects singers from the School of Music who demonstrate true operatic potential and have mastered an intermediate integration of acting, vocal, and movement skills for the Opera Theater and Opera Workshop programs.

To request press tickets, interviews high resolution photos, or additional information, please contact either:
Brooke MacKinnon at 617.353.3349 or
Laurel Homer at 617.353.8783 or

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