Portions of Andre Previn’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” will get a rare public hearing from a historic balcony on Friday evening and it’s all part of the ongoing Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival that kicks off tonight.
Previn’s modern opera made its debut in San Francisco in 1998 and was given its second outing in New Orleans later that year a month before Houston Grand Opera’s slated performances. Both of the Dubois sisters, Blanche and Stella, are played by sopranos, while Stanley Kowalski with his raw, animal musk is played by a baritone. The other major role of Harold (“Mitch”) Mitchell is played by a tenor, perhaps a nod to his mild mannerisms and uncertainty with women, especially Blanche.
Previn has been noted as a composer of film, having written scores for over 60 feature films. He has also been noted as a contributor to several jazz works, but “Streetcar” was his first incursion into the world of opera.
Dubbed “Bon Opera Tit,” this event shows just another side to the festival and its continual outreach to all segments of the community. Opera enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the rarely heard pieces from Previn’s treatment of the celebrated Tennessee Williams play tomorrow, Friday, March 23 from 4-5 p.m. at 520 St. Peter Street at the Upper Pontalba Apartment Building. The venue located adjacent to historic Jackson Square is also noted as one of two buildings that bear the title of first apartment buildings in the United States.
The concert is free and open to the public. The festival continues through the weekend, culminating with the Stanley and Stella shouting contest on the very same balcony.