Wed, Feb 14, at 7:30pm (preview), Thursday, Feb 15, at 7:30pm (opening); Friday, Feb 16, at 7:30pm; Saturday, Feb 17, at 3pm & 7:30pm; and Sunday, Feb 18, at 3pm & 7:30pm
SFJAZZ and Opera Parallele join forces again for a multi-media, multi-genre tribute to the centennial of iconic and versatile American composer Leonard Bernstein. This production links Bernstein's classic 1951 one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti with composer Jake Heggie's 2005 work At the Statue of Venus for an unique collaboration that celebrates the American voice in opera and its continuing legacy, featuring a cutting-edge production including atmospheric visual projections, costumes, and staging. In 2016, SFJAZZ and Opera Parallele presented Terence Blanchard's Champion to sold-out audiences at the SFJAZZ Center.
The only piece for which Bernstein wrote both the music and the libretto, Trouble in Tahiti paints the portrait of a young couple whose loveless union defies the stereotypical ideal of marital bliss in the Atomic Age. With a title that compares the promised suburban utopia of the newly-affluent middle class in America to a sunlit tropical paradise, Trouble in Tahiti, first performed in 1952 at Brandeis University, is an incisive and pointedly relevant cultural touchstone that explores the deception behind the blissful mid-century idea of the "American Dream" created at a time when the media-perpetuated concept of suburban happiness was at its height after World War II. The longtime director of the New York Philharmonic who became a household name with his 1957 score to West Side Story, Bernstein built a uniquely inclusive, modernist approach to composition that fully embraced the popular song forms of the day, making him the most jazz-influenced "classical" composer of the 20th century, and among the most innovative of all time. The one-act opera in seven scenes features famed songs "Mornin' Sun" and "What A Movie."