Dresden Semperoper remounts its successful 2011 production of Street Scene for two performances on May 30 and June 3. The German-language production, directed by Bettina Bruinier and conducted by Jonathan Darlington, features Sabine Brohm (Anna Maurrant), Markus Marquardt (Frank Maurrant), Carolina Ullrich (Rose), and Simeon Esper (Sam Kaplan). Weill’s quintessential American opera graces the same stage that hosted premieres of Wagner, Strauss, and ironically, Weill himself; his one-act opera Der Protagonist was first performed in Dresden in 1926–the beginning of a great career in the musical theater.
Weill’s “Broadway opera,” with a book by Elmer Rice (based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play) and lyrics by Langston Hughes, blends operatic arias and ensembles, show tunes and dance numbers, jazz and blues, and dramatic dialogue. A passionate, emotionally charged portrait of family and communal life among the multi-ethnic working-class and immigrant inhabitants of a crowded New York City tenement, Street Scene centers around the life-changing events of an oppressively hot 24 hours, illuminating the tensions, despair, hopes, and dreams of this melting-pot community.
Video interview with Carolina Ullrich
Blog post by conductor Jonathan Darlington
Learn more about Street Scene
“The spectator is carried in no time at all into an entirely new musical world, in which jazz and show tunes are blended expertly with echoes of Bizet, Puccini, and Leoncavallo, and which tips its hat to the Gershwin of Porgy and Bess along with the European grand operatic tradition from Wagner into the twentieth century.”
–Julia Spinola, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 June 2011
“Musically the performance is exemplary. The Staatskapelle [orchestra] swings with an elegant, light touch, yet they shift effortlessly to great pathos. Conductor Jonathan Darlington makes the most of the great variety of musical styles without jeopardizing the fundamental unity of the score. Sometimes Weill writes songs–a blues for the janitor or a Neapolitan-flavored pop number for the Italian ice cream vendor [sic]; at other times he crafts a web of orchestral motifs that frame the more operatic passages. At the heart of the work are four operatic voices: Mr. and Mrs. Maurrant, Anna Maurrant, and Sam Kaplan; around them lie any number of stock scenes, for which Weill drew just the right sound direct from the streets of New York.”
–Egbert Tholl, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 26 June 2011
“The numerous roles in this work are invariably well cast. The young, much-admired Rose Maurrant–who seeks her own way through the world, kept on a tight leash by a strict father while her mother tries to break out of the narrow confines of their home–is portrayed clearly and convincingly throughout the show by Carolina Ullrich. Simeon Esper, with a well-supported tenor, strongly delineates her exceedingly earnest friend, Sam Kaplan. Together they form a solid presence in the midst of the turmoil surrounding them.”
–Georg-Friedrich Kühn, Deutschland Radio, 20 June 2011