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Role of Count de Grieux in J. Massenet’s "Manon" Welsh, Justin Joseph

Abstract

The thesis for the Master of Music degree in Opera consists of the performance of a major role in one full opera production in the first or second year. I performed role of Count De Grieux in Jules Massenet's Manon on the 6th of March 2004. For this role, I had to present myself as an older gentleman of a distinguished class. Since, I myself am still a young man of 23, I had to use my imagination, stage experience and technique to give a great portrayal of this middle-aged gentleman. Through my training, voice color and stature, I was able to give the audience the idea of myself being the significant father of one of the main characters. Even though I am using the role of Count De Grieux as my thesis, during rehearsals and production I also had to play another character that was completely the opposite. The Count could be considered extremely serious and sure of himself in his ways and virtues. However, the other character that I was required to play, Lescaut, cousin of Manon, could be interpreted as careless, reckless and a man of the world. Since these are not the virtues of such a man as the Count I had the unique challenge of separating the two mentalities and voice colors even though they were the same voice type. The Count must have a strong, powerful even commanding voice to show his quality and status. Lescaut however is more laid back must be portrayed in a more easy going manner. With this problem of double role, it made my thesis role of the Count more challenging and gave me an opportunity express my talent and ingenuity.

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