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Kurt Weill's Street Scene Comes to Life at L’Académie de l’Opéra National de Paris

May. 30, 2024

Kurt Weill's <em>Street Scene</em> Comes to Life at L’Académie de l’Opéra National de Paris

In April, the Academy of l’Opéra national de Paris brought a striking assembly of young talent to a presentation of excerpts from Kurt Weill's Street Scene. The performances took place at the venue MC93 in Bobigny, with direction by Ted Huffman in a semi-staged format employing costumes and active movement on a roughly oval stage, with the orchestra pit in the middle and audience on two sides. The collection of excerpts was assembled to maintain the narrative structure of the full work but with a duration of less than two hours.

Writing in, Pierre-René Serna lauds the work as “a strong and gritty piece, very much in the spirit of this extraordinary composer.” From a cast driven by “unquestionable enthusiasm,” Serna singles out for special praise the singers portraying the four central characters: baritone Ihor Mostovoi (Frank Maurrant), tenor Kevin Punnackal (Sam), soprano Teona Todua (Rose) “for her beautiful lyricism,” and soprano Margarita Polonskaya (Anna Maurrant) “for her magnificent vocal outpouring.” Emmanuelle Saulnier-Cassia observes in Un Fauteuil pour L’Orchestre that, despite the tragic plot, “as with Bernstein's West Side Story much later, Kurt Weill’s brilliant music, energetically conducted by conductor Yshani Perinpanayagam, sweeps away all melancholy in its path.” She concludes, in short: “… a work that we should see more often...”

Behind the Sceces: The Academy of l’Opéra national de Paris Performs Street Scene

Kurt Weill
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
full evening