Two of Marc Blitzstein’s best-known works will be featured in the U.S. during the spring of 2016. One of America’s most influential theater composers of the 20th century, Blitzstein’s passion and sure sense of drama continue to move audiences in the 21st.
The Broadway opera Regina (1949), for which Blitzstein (photo at right) wrote both music and libretto, is a powerful family drama based on Lillian Hellman’s play, The Little Foxes. The title character, a domineering matriarch, imposes her will ruthlessly on her family, ultimately destroying her husband and driving away her daughter. Regina sees no fewer than three performances in the first half of 2016. Bronx Opera staged the work in New York in January. Anderson University (Indiana) offers three performances from 19-21 February. Beginning 8 April, the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland College Park will put on four performances of the work.
Blitzstein’s “Airborne” Symphony, composed during his military service in World War II, was premiered by Leonard Bernstein in 1946 and became one of his most popular works. A cross between a cantata and a symphony, the work requires a narrator, two soloists, male chorus, and large orchestra. The San Francisco concert series “Curious Flights” will present the West Coast premiere of the work on 28 May, conducted by Alasdair Neale. The “Airborne” will anchor a program titled “The Age of Flight,” which celebrates 20th-century American music.
Even Germany will get into the act when the Kurt Weill Fest Dessau offers a program featuring songs by Blitzstein and Weill on 28 February, performed by Lotte Lenya Competition winners Alen Hodzovic and Rebecca Jo Loeb with pianist James Holmes. In the fall of 2016, Dutch radio network ConcertZender will broadcast a four-part series on Blitzstein’s life and works, and Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI) will produce Blitzstein’s best-known opera, The Cradle Will Rock. And very soon, we will be launching a new web site devoted to Blitzstein. Stay tuned for more Blitzstein news!
Regina at Anderson University
Regina at the University of Maryland
“Airborne” Symphony at “Curious Flights”
Songs at the Kurt Weill Fest Dessau