"Opera on Broadway" at the OPERA America Conference
Jun. 05, 2018
The traditional distinctions between musical theater and opera are becoming less defined, and genre-crossing is more mainstream: Kurt Weill’s Street Scene has found its place in the international repertory, Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents a new production of Marc Blitzstein’s Regina during this year's festival season, West Side Story makes a tour of American opera houses during the Bernstein centennial year, and George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess will soon return to the Metropolitan Opera. These genre-bending works, in many cases written in response to the political and social climates in which they were composed, continue to strike a chord for audiences today and find new relevance amidst global current events.
A session entitled “Opera on Broadway” at this year’s OPERA America Conference in St. Louis, MO will explore the challenges and rewards of performing these proto-crossover pieces, with particular emphasis on the socially critical, musically diverse, and dramatically potent Broadway operas of Weill, Blitzstein, and Bernstein. The conversation will investigate how these works create new and innovative opportunities for community engagement, inclusion, and diversity and often draw new audiences to opera.
Three distinguished panelists, representing diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging experience within the music theater world, will lead the discussion. Patricia Racette, straight off her performances of Anna Maurrant in Street Scene at Teatro Real, draws on this experience, along with recent role debuts as Magda Sorrel (Menotti’s The Consul) and The Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide. Conductor John Mauceri has long been a leading champion of this repertoire and has been instrumental in its finding a home in opera houses around the world. Director Tazewell Thompson, whose experience with such works as Porgy and Bess and Weill’s Lost in the Stars, lends him unique insight into the dramatic power of works which address issues of racial inequality. Kim Kowalke, President and CEO of the Kurt Weill Foundation, will moderate.
The conference takes place June 20-23 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, and the session is on Thursday, June 21 at 3:30.
("I Got Plenty O'Nuttin" and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" from Porgy and Bess/George Gershwin/
Angela Brown, soprano and Kevin Dias, bass-baritone/Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic/
Sergey Kondrashev, conductor)
an opera in three acts
libretto (Eng) by the composer from Lillian Hellman’s play “The Little Foxes”
for 3 sopranos, contralto, 2 tenors, 4 baritones, bass, actors and SATB chorus
instrumentation (Original): 1(pic, cl).1(ca, cl).1(fl, Ebcl).1(cl, bcl)-18.104.22.168-timp.perc-hp.pno-str; [Angel Band (on stage): tpt,cl.banjo(gtr),tbn,washboard(drums)] - [Chamber Trio (on stage): pno, vn, vc]
instrumentation (Scottish Opera version): 1.pic.1.3.1-22.214.171.124-timp.perc-hp.pno-str; [Angel Band (on stage): tpt,cl.banjo(gtr),tbn,washboard(drums)] - [Chamber Trio (on stage): pno, vn, vc]
Porgy and Bess (1935)
an opera in three acts
libretto (Eng) by DuBose Heyward
lyrics by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin
founded on the play “Porgy” by Dorothy and DuBose Heyward
for 4 sopranos, 2 mezzo-soprano, alto, boy soprano, 6 tenors, 5 baritones, bass-baritone, speaking roles and chorus
2(2.pic).2(2.ca).3(3.,3.asax).bcl(tsax).1-126.96.36.199-timp.perc-pno.banjo-str (on stage: pno)
Street Scene (1946)
an American opera in two acts
book (Eng) by Elmer Rice; lyrics (Eng) by Langston Hughes and Elmer Rice
based on the play "Street Scene" by Elmer Rice
6S, A, 4Mz, 4T, 3Bar, B-Bar, B, boy soprano, speakers, dancers and orchestra