Close-Up on Florentine’s ‘Trouble in Tahiti’
Florentine's young artists take on Bernstein's jazzy emotional opera. Our photos caught the scene.
This past weekend the Florentine Opera presented an intimate staging of Leonard Bernstein‘s emotional, jazzy opera Trouble in Tahiti, starring the newest class of the company’s Baumgartner Studio Artists, who are in residence for the year.
Bernstein was on his honeymoon in 1951 when he began composing this one-act opera, a candid portrait of the troubled marriage of a young suburban couple (based to some degree on his own parents) that draws upon popular songs styles to deliver a critique of post-war American consumerism. Bernstein had success writing Broadway musicals like On The Town (1944) and West Side Story (1957) and this opera, first staged in 1952, came between them.
The opera is in seven scenes and features a Greek Chorus-like vocal trio whose singing, with close harmonies, jazz rhythms and idealized representation of American life are evocative of radio commercials of the era. Baritone Samuel James Dewese played the husband and soprano Meghan Folkerts played his wife in this production in the Florentine’s studio stage in Riverwest. Our photos capture the action, both on and off stage, including performers, lighting designer and other technical folks.
Trouble in Tahiti
Lead: Meghan Folkerts, Mezzo-Soprano
Lead: Samuel James Dewese, Baritone
Jazz Trio: Kathryn Henry, Soprano, Luke Selker, Tenor, Ian Murrell, Baritone.
Pianist – Conductor: Janna Ernst
Clarinet: Theresa Zick
Bass: Adam Maloney
Drumset/Percussion: Ryan Kohlbaugh
Stage Director: Colleen Brooks
Stage Manager: Bailey Wegner
Production Manager: Lisa Schlenker
Lighting Designer: Marisa Abbott
Costume Coordinator: Mel Benson
Stylist: Erica Cartledge
Florentine Opera General Director & CEO: Maggey Oplinger
Artisic Advisor: Francesco Milioto
Director of Audience Development: Kristine Davis-Koch