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3.8.06

Summer Opera 2006: "Street Scene"

I have already regretted not being able to make it to any of the productions at Opera Theater of St. Louis earlier this summer. Worst of all, I missed the chance to see one of my favorite musicals (operas) staged, Kurt Weill's Street Scene. The only review I read was by Sarah Bryan Miller (Street Scene, June 18) for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Bruno Schwengl's sweat-stained costumes and gritty, grimy set put us immediately in "Street Scene's" time and place: an ugly New York brownstone, overstuffed with observant, gossipy humanity, on a killingly hot day. Open windows showed identical framed photos of the Statue of Liberty, telegraphing immigrant aspirations. A pack of unendearing children scribbled with chalk on the sidewalk as events began to unfold: jealousies, lusts, love, grief, birth, death. Director James Robinson manipulated the large cast - 32 named parts, plus a dog, plus the ensemble - skillfully, playing up the strong points of the drama and downplaying the more dated aspects. The comedy made the tragedy all the more devastating.

Music director Stephen Lord triumphed in the pit, seamlessly tying together all the diverse musical strains and holding the stage forces securely. Soprano Carolyn Betty was phenomenal as Anna Maurrant, the doomed wife who seeks a little kindness in the wrong arms, bringing a big, gleaming instrument, strong stage presence and dramatic conviction to the role. Tenor Garrett Sorenson has a gorgeous voice with ringing high notes, and he made sweet, nerdish Sam Kaplan into a very real and sympathetic person.
It turns out that Robert Boyd published a review at Talkin' Broadway, too.

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