Concerts & Opera

Great success for all and standing ovation for Fleming



In 1998 San Francisco Opera commissioned an opera to André Previn, and he wrote this piece inspired to Tennessee Williams play and Elia Kazan's famous movie "Street car called desire" for Renée Fleming as Blanche. When it debuted, the production received mixed reviews, some of them harsh. Previn's score is often characterized as lush and romantic in the old-Hollywood style, with some arias  including "I Can Smell the Sea Air." Fleming revisited the role in a new, semi-staged production that was at Carnegie Hall last year and then to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

"Streetcar" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on 24th of May, 2014 was a rare opportunity to hear Previn's classical music in the city where he grew up and where Previn conducted the L.A. Phil in its former home from 1985 to 1989.  Brad Dalton's production gives the music more primacy. The sets are bare bones — chairs, a table, a bed and a few props. The characters, however, wore period dress, or in the case of Ryan McKinny's often shirtless Stanley Kowalski. Orchestra was placed on a racked stage behind the singers and orchestra pit remained empty.

Placing the orchestra at the back of the stage created the sense that musicians and singers were in separate rooms and some parts between voices and music are inevitably missed also  due to the huge hall  that do not permit any intimacy present in the plot. Fleming remains a radiant presence and now her lower register is darker and more expressive made great this unforgettable Blanche. The cast was excellent with McKinny's virile Stanley, Stacey Tappan's Stella, Anthony Dean Griffey's  Mitch and Victoria Livengood's Eunice.

Great success for all and standing ovation for Fleming.

Massimo Corsini



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