in Lawrence, Massachusetts and educated at Boston Latin and Harvard,
Leonard Bernstein composed for orchestra, chamber ensembles, ballet,
and solo voice. In addition to his notoriety as a pianist and
conductor, his scores for the Broadway musical stage and film
venues are legendary. But it is probably the “Young People’s
Concerts” with the New York Philharmonic that introduced
him to a nationwide audience, as these telecasts gave an entire
generation new found interest in classical music.
Opera is proud to be presenting a variety of work featuring the
music and lyrics of Leonard Bernstein. The first half of the program
is devoted to the concert performance of his more sacred compositions
and music composed for musical theater and film. These include
by Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening of the Kennedy Center in
Washington, DC, in 1971. It combines Bernstein’s musical
impressionism of jazz, Broadway, folk and rock and his deep sense
of faith and reverence during a turbulent social period.
satirical masterpiece telling the story of a young man’s
determination to follow his mentor’s creed of blind faith
and optimism, first produced at New York’s Martin Beck Theatre
in December 1956. It has since enjoyed numerous revisions—from
single act theater to grand opera.
ON THE TOWN—“New York, New York,
it’s a helluva town, the Bronx is up and the Battery’s
down…” Three sailors on 24-hour shore leave in the
world’s most vibrant city. Made famous in a lyrical, tuneful
MGM movie starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly.
PAN—One of Bernstein’s lesser-known works
starred Boris Karloff as Capt. Hook and was produced in New York
in 1950. Bernstein’s music and lyrics were considered simple,
yet effective and the show ran for nearly a year.
TOWN—A musical tale based on the play, “My
Sister Eileen.” Bernstein collaborated with Betty Comden
and Adolph Greene in this Broadway triumph filled with memorable
music and lyrics. Two Midwestern small town girls follow their
aspirations to a wonderful town—New York!
SIDE STORY—Classic theater and perhaps Bernstein’s
most famous work. Mix in lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the backdrop
of New York tenements and the drama of star-crossed lovers, and
you have one of the most popular of all American musicals.
IN TAHITI—This fully staged, costumed opera occupies
the second half of Longwood’s “A Tribute to Leonard
Bernstein.” It satirizes the “comfort of suburbia”
in the 1950s. Inspired by jazz, and American musical comedy, the
score and lyrics are a biting commentary on the emptiness of materialistic
values and false promises of suburban life during the era.