The opera is set in the 1930s, in front of a tenement on the Lower East Side of New York City. The neighborhood is populated by many different nationalities: an ebullient Italian, a fat, comfortable Hausfrau, a thick-headed Swedish couple, a left-wing Russian Jew, and hardened Americans who despise the foreigners. Of the opera, Weill wrote, "Street Scene is about life in a street of New York. We see, in the beginning, the women who live in the house, sitting on the steps, complaining about the heat, talking to the janitor who comes up from the cellar singing his blues song, gossiping about Mrs. Maurrant's love life, and making fun of young Buchanan whose wife is having a baby. Then we hear Mrs. Maurrant's aria expressing her troubled mind and her secret desires; the song of the young girls coming home from the graduation exercises; Sam Kaplan's song of adolescent melancholy; then Rose Maurrant's scene with her 'boss,' Mr. Easter, who is trying to lure her into a different sort of life; Rose's decision to live her own kind of life; and the scene of young love between Rose and Sam, dreaming of lilac bushes and happiness. The second act opens with the morning music, the awakening of the house and the 'Children's Game,' and goes on to Mrs. Maurrant's touching song to her little son, a passionate duet of the two lovers, Sam and Rose, who have decided to take life in their own hands, and the horror-stricken death scene of Mrs. Maurrant. In the last scene we see two nursemaids trying to sing the babies to sleep, while at the same time gossiping about their parents; Rose meeting, for the last time, her father who has killed his wife and is being taken away by the police, and finally, Rose saying goodbye to the one she loves.
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|GRANT NAME||YEAR||The Next Stage||1999||The Next Stage||1998||
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Number of Acts
Occasional suggestions of jazz and blues, Gershwin and Cole Porter, Broadway numbers, and boogie woogie; contains demanding arias and ensembles.
Vocal & Musical Forces
Four sopranos, 1 boy soprano, 4 mezzo-sopranos, 1 alto, 4 tenors, 3 baritones, 1 bass, spoken roles, satb chorus of neighbors; flute, oboe, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, harp, piano, percussion, strings
Anne Jeffreys (Rose Maurrant)
Polyna Stoska (Anna Maurrant)
Norman Cordon (Frank Maurrant)
Brian Sullivan (Sam Kaplan)
Hope Emerson (Emma Jones)
Sheila Bond (Mae Jones)
Danny Daniels (Dick McGann)
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