Leonard Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti" | SFJAZZ
Celebrating composer Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, SFJAZZ and San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle re-team for this world premiere production that links Bernstein’s classic 1951 one-act opera "Trouble in Tahiti" with composer Jake Heggie’s 2005 work "At the Statue of Venus"; a unique San Francisco-only collaboration that celebrates the American voice in opera and its continuing legacy, featuring a cutting-edge production including atmospheric visual projections, costumes, and staging.
The longtime director of the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein built a uniquely inclusive, modernist approach that embraced the popular song forms of the day, making him the most jazz-influenced “classical” composer of the 20th century. The only piece for which Bernstein wrote both the music and the libretto, "Trouble in Tahiti" was written between his Broadway triumphs of "On the Town" in 1944 and "West Side Story" in 1957. With a title that compares the stereotypical suburban utopia of the newly affluent middle class to a sunlit tropical paradise, "Trouble in Tahiti" is an incisive and pointedly relevant cultural touchstone for our time.
Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Jake Heggie’s "At the Statue of Venus" features a libretto by Tony-winning playwright and librettist Terrence McNally in which an expectant young woman waits in a museum by a statue of the Goddess of Love for her blind date to arrive, ruminating on what her future may hold.
For this exciting production, the two works are seamlessly linked with a narrative that explores the struggles, victories, and revelations that occur in one’s quest for “happiness,” in which the sole character Rose in "At the Statue of Venus" becomes the wife Dinah from "Trouble in Tahiti". We see what becomes of a young woman waiting for a blind date in a museum and what might happen after getting married and living the comfortable life of a housewife in suburban America.