A new production in an exciting new space for Opera Parallèle, Trouble in Tahiti features some of Bernstein’s most haunting music. Begun on his honeymoon in 1951 between his Broadway successes of On the Town and West Side Story, it’s a candid portrait of the troubled marriage of a young suburban couple. Many of the themes are echoed in the current television hit, Mad Men.
“It’s entirely possible that the 20th century repertoire offers no more hilarious or eloquent testament to the emotional power of music than ‘What a Movie,’ the centerpiece aria from Leonard Bernstein’s 1951 one-act opera ‘Trouble in Tahiti.'”– Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle (2008)
Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge will be presented before Tahiti as a short prologue. Two bored couples playing their customary game of bridge fantasize about the state of their relationship as they play out their hands.
Opera Parallèle’s orchestra is conducted by Artistic Director Nicole Paiement. Concept Designer and Stage Director Brian Staufenbiel’s staging is inspired by magazine covers of the 1960s and a bygone era of B movie classics.
The cast is lead by baritone and former Adler Fellow Eugene Brancoveanu as disillusioned Sam, with mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez as his estranged wife Dinah. Sam and Dinah’s marital discord hides a longing for love and intimacy while their happy consumerism masks spiritual emptiness. Also starring Krista Wigle, Andres Ramirez, and Randall Bunnell as the “Greek” chorus of bystanders providing satirical commentary.
Randall Bunnell has performed with the San Francisco Bach Choir, Loyola Opera Theater, and the New Orleans Opera Association. Past roles include Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas), Paris (Romeo et Juliette), Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte), and Palante (Agrippina). Mr. Bunnell is a summa cum laude graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, and is currently studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Eugene Brancoveanu appeared in Opera Parallèle’s production of Four Saints in Three Acts (St. Ignatius) & sang the title role in the company’s award-winning production of Philip Glass’ Orphée. Brancoveanu performed in “Songs of a Wayfarer” in a return to Peninsula Symphony Orchestra; sang as a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra; directed La bohème and sing as Marcello for Livermore Valley Opera; and sang in recital at Brookings Harbor Friends of Music. Brancoveanu is a former Adler Fellow & the 2003 Tony Awardee for his performance as Marcello (La Boheme) on Broadway.
Lisa Chavez sung with Opera New Jersey and Bay Area Summer Opera and Theater Institute. Recent roles include Lorca in Opera Parallèle’s Bay Area premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar and Madame de Volanges in Dicapo Opera’s New York premiere of Conrad Susa’s Dangerous Liaisons. In 2011 Chavez received an award from the Gerda Lissner Foundation. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, she is a founding member of Opera Collective, a company making operatic repertoire accessible to the New York City area.
Andres Ramirezs a graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Ramirez has worked with acclaimed performers / directors such as Stephanie Vlahos, Henry Price, and William Lewis among others. Recent roles include Bullfighter (Ainadamar), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Adolfo Pirelli (Sweeny Todd), and Mr. Bumble (Oliver!). Mr. Ramirez has also worked as a stage director, music director, and stage manager.
Krista Wigle as performed with Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Pocket Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and San Francisco Lyric Opera. Roles include Cleo (The Most Happy Fella), Musetta (La Bohème), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Carlotta in the Las Vegas and San Francisco productions of The Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Wigle earned her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and teaches at the American Conservatory Theater and West Valley College in Saratoga.