Manon Lescaut is the opera in which [Puccini] found his voice. Never again did he equal the intensity of full-blooded sexual passion with which he imbued this opera. The catalyst is the Chevalier de Grieux, a young man initiated into a wanton world, all too aware of the degradation he will suffer but powerless to resist it. The object of his obsession is Manon, irresistibly charming and lethally corrupt, infuriatingly poised between the trivial and the sublime. [Puccini]’s musical imagination was at its most fecund as he lavished his immortal melodies on these potent characters.