Sez Me: Street Scene is a Great American Opera

On this date – January 9 – in 1947, the opera Street Scene opened at the Adelphi Theater on Broadway and ran for 148 performances.

street scene 1947

The show was composed by German-born Kurt Weill, who considered Street Scene his finest score and it is certainly his most operatic. The beautiful lyrics are by poet and playwright Langston Hughes. The book is by Elmer Rice from his play of the same name, which chronicles the lives and loves of the mostly immigrant residents of a brownstone in early 20th-century New York over the course of two blazing-hot summer days.

The original production of Street Scene was a popular and critical success, but high running costs resulted in its early closure. Street Scene has never been revived on Broadway, but it has made its way into the repertoires of opera companies around the world.

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