SFJAZZ & Opera Parallèle Celebrate To Leonard Bernstein’s Centennial

By Francisco Salazar

 SFJAZZ and Opera Parallèle will join forces again for a multi-media, multi-genre tribute to the centennial of iconic and versatile American composer Leonard Bernstein.

The production will link Bernstein’s classic 1951 one-act opera “Trouble in Tahiti” with composer Jake Heggie’s 2005 song cycle “At the Statue of Venus” for a unique collaboration that celebrates the American voice in opera and its continuing legacy.

For this production, Opera Parallèle’s Artistic Director Nicole Paiement and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel will link the two works with a before and after narrative that explores the struggles, victories, and revelations that occur in one’s quest for “happiness,” in which the sole character Rose in the song cycle “At the Statue of Venus” becomes the wife Dinah from “Trouble in Tahiti.”

Mezzo-sopranos Renée Rapier and Abigail Levis will portray the central character and will be double-cast. Baritones Kyle Albertson and Eugene Brancoveanu are also double-cast and will portray the same character. Soprano Krista Wigle, tenor Andres Ramirez, and baritone Bradley Kynard round out the cast.

The double bill will be performed seven times at the SFJAZZ Center running from Feb. 14 to the 18.