by Kurt Weill, Elmer Rice, and Langston Hughes
directed by Gina Kaufmann
musical direction by Mark Swanson
In 1946, German composer Kurt Weill and playwright Elmer Rice came together with poet Langston Hughes to create Street Scene, a riveting artistic hybrid of musical theater, opera, and spoken-word poetry. The gritty story, based on Rice's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, focuses on the residents of a run-down tenement in a multi-ethnic, working class area of Manhattan. The action centers around a romance between a Jewish and a gentile teenager and on the consequences of an extramarital affair, but it is the rich undertones of longing and the layered relationships bring the complex world of Street Scene to life. With elements that encompass classical music forms and the jazz esthetic, and a uniquely poetic sensibility, this piece stretches the art of opera in fascinating directions.
A co-production of Five College Opera and the Department of Theater.
A series of events and concerts highlighting works by Weil, Rice and Hughes, and celebrating their collaboration, will take place on Five College campuses.