This is Weill's most ambitious score for Broadway and remains a work of compelling power. The performers, led by Anne Jeffreys, manage to combine well the requirements of opera and musical theater.
Kurt Weill's 'Broadway opera' Street Scene was his most ambitious score for Broadway. It was produced there in January 1947, ran for 148 performances, and was revived by the New York City Opera in 1959 and 1978. A semi-staged production at the Royal Academy of Music in 1983 revealed it as a work of compelling power, leaving one to wonder afresh at the suggestion that Weill had somehow prostituted his art for Broadway. If not on quite the same ambitious scale as Porgy and Bess, it is there that one most obviously finds theRead more musical antecedents—sometimes to a quite uncanny degree in the jazz-and-blues tinted score. There are dramatic parallels, too, with the residents of Catfish Row replaced by a group of New York tenement dwellers.
The best known numbers are "Lonely House" and "A boy like you", but there are also ravishing duets and ensembles, a richly comic song "When a woman has a baby", and the delightful "Wrapped in a ribbon and tied in a bow" that most immediately recalls Richard Rodgers. The work has a certain amount of spoken dialogue, but most of it is set to music, of which the bulk is to be found on this recording, one of the more remarkable testimonies to the enterprise of Goddard Lieberson, then Vice-President of Columbia Records, who initiated it. Hearing it again on CD, I marvel at it afresh and am no less astonished that a recording over 40 years old can come up as clearly as here. The performers manage to combine well the requirements of opera and musical theatre, with Anne Jeffreys sounding uncannily like Teresa Stratas in the role of Rose. The reissue is well timed for the Scottish Opera/English National Opera co-production planned for this autumn and should not be missed.
Street Sceneby Kurt Weill Performer:
Anne Jeffreys (Voice),
Polyna Stoska (Voice),
Brian Sullivan (Voice)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1947; USA Date of Recording: 1947 Language: English
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Dated but interestingMarch 28, 2014By Betsy H. B. (White River Junction, VT)See All My Reviews"I'm about to be a very minor cast member in a summer production of this work. I was unfamiliar with this work, but love other Weill music. I've now been playing the CD in my car for several weeks. I find the music palls on repeated hearings. It's too naive for current tastes, and the plot is almost uncomfortably melodramatic. Yet therein lies its charm. I hadn't heard "Hey, babareebop!" (sp?) since I was a child, which made it both jarring and nostalgic. The voices in the original cast seem too "operatic" for the libretto in some cases, and there's certainly no catchy tune to walk out humming. But it's interesting for its time, and I'm looking forward to performing in it."Report Abuse