1884 · Paris
A presentation copy, with a fine large 2-measure autograph musical quotation from the first act of the opera signed and inscribed in purple ink on the verso of the half-title: "à mon cher et excellent Docteur & ami Dr. Poyet. Massenet 1881-1895."
Named cast includes Heilbron as Manon, Molé-Truffier as Pousette, Chevalier as Javotte, Rémy as Rosette, Lardinois as the Servant, Talazac as Chevalier des Grieux, Taskin as Lescaut, Cobalei as Count des Grieux, Grinot as Guillot de Morfontaine, Collin as de Brétigny, and Labis, Teste, Reynal, Legrand, Troy, Davoust, and Bernard.
With pictorial vignettes to pp. 1, 7, 123, 178, 251, 289, and 355. "Variante pour les Théâtres qui n'ont pas de Ballet" to head and "Paris, Imp. E. Dupré, rue du Delta 26." to foot of p. 391; plate number "G.H. 1356" to cast and index leaves and "H. et Cie. 7067" to cast list and first page of music. Small "Au Ménestrel" handstamp to cast page.
Binding slightly worn and rubbed, upper hinge split. Tear to inner margins of index leaves and pp. 153-160, not affecting text; some page numbers and "Au Ménestrel" handstamp slightly cropped. Second edition.
Manon, to a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille after Antoine-François Prévost's novel L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut (1731), was first performed in Paris at the Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart) on 19 January 1884.
The passage from which Massenet has quoted is printed on p. 94 (measures 4 and 5) of the present score.
"... In Manon herself Massenet created a portrait of the eternal feminine to rank with Mélisande and Lulu, and it is on this that the opera's appeal rests... In the final analysis Manon is by way of being a 'highlights' opera, lacking the cohesion and economy of more mature Massenet works, but those highlights were seldom surpassed in the composer's oeuvre." Rodney Milnes in Grove Music Online. (Inventory #: 28138)