Leonard Bernstein's Take On Marriage Circa 1950 To Get Showing At Center Stage Theater
Opera Santa Barbara concludes its 2017-2018 season with a double bill of two one-act operas by American masters sponsored by the Mosher Foundation.
Trouble in Tahiti, Leonard Bernstein's witty, haunting take on the supposed bliss of the American suburbs is paired with Douglas Moore's zany soap opera-within-an-opera Gallantry. The inspiration behind this double bill is two-fold: Opera Santa Barbara's Artistic & General Director Kostis Protopapas wanted the chance to spotlight the company's talented Chrisman Studio Artists. "Our audiences has gotten to know this fantastic group of singers in supporting roles and in many community concerts - this is our chance to feature them in leading roles," says Protopapas. "In addition, we are excited to honor the creative legacy of Leonard Bernstein. The Bernstein at 100 centennial is the perfect opportunity to re-introduce our community to Trouble in Tahiti in a fantastic new production conceived and staged by Alison Moritz."
Trouble in Tahiti tells the story of Dinah and Sam, a married couple in 1950s suburbia trying to communicate as they wrestle with their growing alienation from each other. Sam retreats to the masculine worlds of the office and the gym, while Dinah finds excitement and solace in the movies. All the while, an upbeat jazz trio sings jingles extolling the bliss and convenience of the modern age. Trouble in Tahiti will be paired with Douglas Moore's Gallantry. Audiences who know Moore through his opera The Ballad of Baby Doe may be surprised to experience this hilarious sendup of the American soap opera. Gallantry is a classic backstage/onstage farce that takes place during the filming of a hospital-themed television melodrama.
Stage Director Alison Moritz will direct. Says Protopapas, "Alison has a brilliant way of balancing fun and seriousness. She also has a contemporary sensibility that will highlight the freshness of these operas."
The double bills will star OSB Chrisman Studio Artists Elle Valera (soprano), Chelsea Melamed (mezzo-soprano), Jonathan Walker-VanKuren (tenor), and Byron Mayes (baritone). They will be joined by bass-baritone Vincent Grana. "These young singers will blow you away," says Protopapas. "They have such charisma and charm combined with impeccable comedic timing." Studio Artist Alumnus Kyle Naig returns to music direct and accompany the production.
"Audiences will love this double bill," says Protopapas. "Trouble in Tahiti holds a mirror up to our modern lives in a poignant yet entertaining way and Gallantry is pure comedy. Musically, both pieces are examples of the mastery of two pioneer composers of American opera.
• Trouble in Tahiti/Gallantry plays on Friday, April 20 and on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 7:30pm
• Performances take place at Center Stage Theater, located in Paseo Nuevo Mall (at Chapala & De la Guerra)
Production Sponsor: The Mosher Foundation
For plot synopsis and detailed cast bios visit www.operasb.org