A few days later came the much anticipated debut of Vadim Muntagirov in the role of Des Grieux. Looking every inch the part, he proved an ideal match for the role. He has the maturity to give depth to the character while his technique has a textbook purity.
The role was written for Anthony Dowell who set new standards for male dancers, and MacMillan exploited his facility to the full. The choreography gave Muntagirov ample opportunities to display his breath-taking arabesque and fine-tuned musicality.
The casting at this Sunday matinee would be difficult to match: the balance was near perfect. Sarah Lamb was Manon. Her blonde curls and blue eyes are made for seduction but she is shown to best advantage when her prettiness is allowed a cutting edge.
To see the gleam in her eye when she is offered furs and diamonds is to understand the duality of the role: a women passionate both in her search for love and for material wealth.
Lescaut, Manon’s bother, is a charming scoundrel. Valentino Zucchetti captured the essence of the man: his feet as sharp as his wits in a performance that never missed a detail.