Thursday, July 17 starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock, Opera North will present Street Scene, a musical theater piece is based upon the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name by Elmer Rice, who also wrote the book for it. Kurt Weill’s score and the lyrics of Langston Hughes sensitively explore the world of a New York City East Side tenement during a heat spell in the 1940’s. The domestic lives of the tenement’s residents, many of whom are immigrants to the United States, are revealed in a series of musical and dramatic vignettes, as the arc of the opera builds towards an unexpected but inevitable tragedy.
In both its musical score, in which Weill (himself an immigrant) used the idioms of jazz and popular music along with those of classical opera, and in its dramatic conception by Elmer Rice and Langston Hughes, STREET SCENE established itself almost immediately as a new and vibrant fusion of the Broadway musical with the more traditional European opera — a fusion that had a tremendous influence on a rising generation of American composers including Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
This lecture will heighten awareness of the special place STREET SCENE holds in the American opera repertory, as well as whetting audience anticipation of the three performances Opera North will be presenting of this touchstone of mid-twentieth century American music theater.
Admission to the lecture is free, but seating is limited, so plan to arrive early to secure your places!