Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

Unique Opera Series Celebrates Five Years 

Unique Opera Series Celebrates Five Years 

Street Scene

In its fifth year, the Peabody at the Lyric series will present the ground-breaking American opera Street Scene in November at the Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Elmer Rice, Street Scene’s music was originally written for the Broadway stage by Kurt Weill, with lyrics by Langston Hughes.

While usually set on Manhattan’s East Side, this production of Street Scene will have a local twist, says Pea- body Opera Department Interim Chair JoAnn Kulesza.

“Given the recent events in Baltimore, I thought setting the show in our own city would be timely and appropriate,” she says. “Street Scene is about the lives of ordinary, real people, living in neighborhoods, their relationships, values, trials, and triumphs.”

The Peabody at the Lyric series features the Peabody Symphony Orchestra and some of the premier vocalists from the Peabody Institute.

Having a series jointly presented by a conservatory and performing arts center is unique, Ms. Kulesza says. “I am not aware of another collaboration like this in the country, where a conservatory is invited and supported in bringing a full opera production into such a venue as the Lyric,” she says.

Street Scene will feature 45 to 50 performers on stage, including a children’s chorus. Ms. Kulesza says she hopes the production will bring the magic of opera and Kurt Weill to audiences that other wise might not be exposed.

“We all need shelter, food, to love and be loved, appreciated, and respected, to have purpose and hope in the future. When these needs aren’t met, we look beyond our circle to escape unpleasant reality. Street Scene illustrates all of that.”

— Alan H. Feiler