The Operatic Adaptation of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

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streetcar-1Kentucky Opera is thrilled to bring the operatic adaptation of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE to the Brown Theatre for its Louisville premiere! Join us as Kentucky Opera makes history yet again with an inspired season finale to the first year of our Repertoire Reimagined.

Tennessee Williams’s seminal play, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, remains one of America’s favorite dramas, both on stage and on film. With accolades including the Academy Award for Best Writing: Screenplay, Tennessee Williams; the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and many more, it’s safe to say that A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE is firmly ensconced in the American cultural canon.

It is only fitting that such a lauded and beloved piece of stage and film should be adapted for the opera. In 1995, former General Director of the San Francisco Opera, Lofti Mansouri, commissioned composer and classical musician André Previn and librettist Philip Littell to undertake this task. His work on films, which has garnered him numerous Academy Awards, made Previn an ideal choice to take Williams’s work and adapt it for opera.

Previn’s experience with film certainly lent him authority in the adaptation of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. As Myron Meisel of The Hollywood Reporter said in his recent review: “Previn’s felicitous writing shows the singers off to excellent advantage, and…the big numbers, functioning as monologues, provide considerable punch within the context of the developing tragedy…”

Lovers of the original stage production and the film need not worry that the familiar elements and beloved lines will be absent. “For anyone who knows the original,” writes Joshua Kosman of The San Francisco Gate, “all of the elements are in place.” They are simply set to Previn’s atmospheric and moody music, reflecting a refinement of Previn’s earlier work on films.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE has been no less American or familiar in its transition to the opera stage. Audience members will recognize the characters they’ve grown to love and hate, and the classic Americana of New Orleans in the 1940s. Kentucky Opera is thrilled to bring you this Louisville premiere and we invite you to join us for the 2014/15 season finale in February.

Photo courtesy of Union Avenue Opera.