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Bernstein's Trouble In Tahiti

Bernstein's Trouble In Tahiti


Seiji Ozawa Hall - Lenox, MA View Map

Jamie Bernstein, the composer's daughter, directs a performance of Leonard Bernstein's one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti, featuring conductor Charles Prince, soprano Alexandra Silber as Dinah, and baritone Nathan Gunn as Sam.

The first half of the program consists of assorted songs from the Bernstein songbook, loosely connected by narration from Jamie Bernstein.

The lyrical, jazzy style of Leonard Bernstein's 1952 one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti has much in common with On the Town (being performed July 7) and West Side Story (July 28). Bernstein himself wrote the libretto; the scenario revolves around Dinah and her husband Sam's disaffection with their rat-race, suburban life. The plot has nothing to do with Tahiti; the title comes from a romantic movie Dinah contrasts with her workaday, unromantic existence. Trouble in Tahiti was premiered in June 1952 at Brandeis University, where Bernstein was on the faculty, and was presented by NBC on television the following November.

Semi-staged performance

Featured Performers & Ensembles

Charles Prince, conductor
Charles Prince, conductor View biography in full page >

The American conductor Charles Prince studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He attended the Boston Symphony Orchestra's annual Tanglewood Music Festival in 1988 and 1989, taking master classes with Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Gustav Meier, and Kurt Sanderling. Other important teachers who got him started included Robert Page (Cleveland Orchestra) and Jorma Panula (Helsinki), one of the foremost conducting teachers in Europe.

Today Charles Prince is a regular guest conductor of orchestras such as the Oregon Sympony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Kuopi Symphony in Finland, as well as the Canadian Brass with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.

He was the musical director of the Bernstein Gala in PA Majestic Theatre, presented by Jamie Bernstein, and the Tony-Award production of James Joyce and Shaun Daveys' "The Dead" on Broadway, in Los Angeles and Washington. From 1996 to 2003, Charles Prince was Associate Conductor of the New York Pops. In this position, he brought several world-premiers of contemporary american composers to the stage of New York's Carnegie Hall. In Moscow, he conducted the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, playing Jan Sibelius' Symphony No. 4, Richard Strauss's "Till Eulenspiegel" and Claude Debussy's "La Mer." Because of his european ancestry, Prince harbors a preference for Viennese classical music as well as the Viennese operetta. Thus, he returned often to Europe where he conducted the WDR Orchestra (Cologne and Essen, Germany), the Munich "Rundfunkorchester" and "Symphoniker," the Philharmonic Orchestra of Sofia (Bulgaria), the Festival Orchestra in Verbier (Switzerland), and the Kärtner Symphonieorchestrer (Carinthia, Austria).

In tribute to his father, Broadway director Hal Prince, Charles conducted "A Gala Concert for Hal Prince" with the Munich Radio Orchestra and an international ensemble of singers at the Munich Philharmonic in Gasteig, which was broadcast live over Bavarian radio and television, as well as recorded for a double-CD by First Night Records, London.

Charles Prince is music director of Wiener Operettensommer in Vienna, Austria, and also the music director of the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Charles Prince, conductor Alexandra Silber, soprano
Alexandra Silber, soprano View biography in full page >

Born in Los Angeles, California, Grammy-nominated artist Alexandra Silber grew up outside Detroit, Michigan.

She attended Interlochen Center for the Arts and continued her training at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, graduating with a degree in Acting. She graduatedjust days before her professional and West End debut as Laura Fairlie in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White at the age of 21.

Alexandra made her Carnegie Hall debut singing the role of Nina in a concert performance of Song Of Norway  with the Collegiate Chorale and American Symphony Orchestra, followed by an appearance with The Orchestra of St. Luke's at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as Amalia Balash in She Loves Me, marking the first time a musical had ever been presented at this venue.

Alexandra made her American acting debut in a revival of her portrayal of Julie Jordan for Reprise Theatre Company in Los Angeles, and garnered an Ovation-nomination. 

She joined Tony Award winner Tyne Daly in Terrence McNally's Master Class at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, directed by Stephen Wadsworth, and made her Broadway debut in the same production with Manhattan Theatre Club in the Spring of 2011 (garnering a nod from Backstage for one of the great theater performances of 2011).

Alexandra made her New York theatre debut portraying The Young Wife in the Transport Group's Revival of Michael John LaChiusa's Hello Again, and was nominated for a Drama League Award.

She debuted two of her solo cabarets entitled "London Still" and "Ex Libris," at the esteemed New York nightclub Feinstein's at The Loews Regency, and was honored to be a part of Barbara Cook's Spotlight Series at The Kennedy Center in December of 2011.

Immediately following, Alexandra made her San Francisco Symphony debut as Maria (opposite Cheyenne Jackson) in a concert presentation of West Side Story, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas-- this historic, first-ever concert presentation will be accompanied by the first-ever full symphonic recording, available to download May 20 2014, and in hard-copy June 10.

Alexandra made her feature film debut in Stephen King's 1408 starring John Cusack, before portraying Hodel in The Sheffield Crucible's 2007 production of Fiddler on the Roof, and it's subsequent West End transfer. She joined Fiddler on the Roof  director Lindsay Posner once again, portraying Julie Jordan in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel at The Savoy Theatre in London's West End. She received tremendous critical acclaim, and received Great Britain's TMA Award for Best Performance in a Musical.

Last fall she portrayed Jenny Cavilerri in the North American Premiere of Love Story the Musical at The Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and returned to New York in a highly-acclaimed performance of Arlington - a new one woman musical  as part of the Inner Voices series, and has also appeared as a Guest Star on all three branches of the Law & Order series (SVU, Criminal Intent and the original).

Her solo concert "The Land Where The Good Songs Go" premiered at Feinstein's at The Nikko in San Francisco, after she made her Detroit Symphony Orchestra debut in Pulitzer-Prize-winning David Del Tredici's World Premiere of "Dum Dee Tweedle," before reviving her critically acclaimed performance as Sara Jane in "Arlington" at The Vineyard Theatre, and was  nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Solo Performance.

Alexandra appeared on the concert stage in July of 2014 at Disney Hall in Los Angeles with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles in Andrew Lippa's oratorio "I Am Harvey Milk" as the soprano soloist, before appearing in the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall as Lilli Vanessi/Kate in Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate" with the John Wilson Orchestra to extensive critical acclaim.

Alexandra was nominated for a Grammy Award for her performance in West Side Story  with the San Francisco Symphony, and performed on the 57th Grammy Award broadcast with Cheyenne Jackson. She also made her playwrighting debut with Dutch Kills Theatre and The Hangar Theatre, both of whom produced her adaptations of Greek tragedies Antigone and Trojan Women. She also played Eliza Dootlittle in My Fair Lady at The Muny in St Louis opposite Anthony Andrews.

Alexandra recently completed a run on Broadway as Tzeitel in the revival of Fiddler of the Roof directed by Barlett Sher, starring 6-time Tony Nominee Danny Burstein as Tevye, followed immediately by creating the role of Countess Andreyni in Ken Ludwig's adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express at the McCarter Theater Center.

Alexandra is also an avid blogger, writer, and teacher, and when she is not working, enjoys quoting the film "What About Bob?," and 'fan-girling' over Angela Lansbury -- but not necessarily in that order. She also has a fondness for crime drama,  watermelon, and red shoes. She lives in New York with her famous cat, Tatiana.

Alexandra Silber, soprano
Nathan Gunn, baritone
Nathan Gunn, baritone View biography in full page >

Nathan Gunn has made a reputation as one of the most exciting and in-demand baritones of the day.

Mr. Gunn has appeared in internationally renowned opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Paris Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Festival, and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. His many roles include the title roles in Billy Budd and Hamlet, Papageno, Guglielmo, Figaro, the Count, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, and Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea.

He also created the role of Clyde Griffiths in the world premiere of Tobias Picker's new opera, An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera.

Also a distinguished concert performer, Mr. Gunn has appeared the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Münchner Rundfunkorchster, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. The many conductors with whom he has worked with include, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Antonio Pappano, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Mark Wigglesworth.

A frequent recitalist, Mr. Gunn has also been presented in recital at Alice Tully Hall by both Lincoln Center's Art of the Song Series and the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, and by Cal Performances, the Schubert Club, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Vocal Arts Society in Washington, DC, the University of Chicago, the Krannert Center, the Wigmore Hall, and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie. As a student, he performed in series of recitals with his teacher and mentor John Wustman that celebrated the 200th anniversary of Franz Schubert's birth.

Mr. Gunn is an exclusive recording artist for Sony/BMG Masterworks and his first solo album for the label, Just Before Sunrise, was released in August 2007. Other recordings include Peter Grimes with Sir Colin Davis and London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live!), which was nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award; Il Barbiere di Siviglia (SONY Classics), Kullervo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Telarc), and his debut album, a collection of American songs entitled American Anthem (EMI). He also starred as Buzz Aldrin in Man on the Moon, an opera written specifically for television and broadcast on the BBC in the UK in December 2006.The program was recently awarded the G olden Rose Award for Opera at the Montreux Festival in Lucerne. 

Mr. Gunn was the recipient of the first annual Beverly Sills Artist Award, and was recently awarded the Pittsburgh Opera Renaissance Award. He is an alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Program and was the winner of the 1994 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. In addition, he is also an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he still makes his home, and was recently awarded a professorship by the university.

Nathan Gunn, baritone Ellie Fishman, soprano Ellie Fishman, soprano
William Ferguson, tenor William Ferguson, tenor Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone
Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone View biography in full page >

American baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert performs concerts and opera throughout the world, frequently with his twice GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble, New York Polyphony.
Hailed by Opera News for his "exceptional" singing, Christopher has also received acclaim for his "smooth baritone voice", his "consistently warm sound" and his "versatile dramatic abilities". He is a recipient of awards from the Sullivan Foundation and Gérard Souzay Competition and he was a 2014 Naumburg Competition semifinalist. His outdoor Winterize/Winterreise project with Make Music New York is described by The New York Times as "brave and, in all senses, chilling... an elegantly lean performance that would have been impressive in any context but was remarkable under these conditions."
Recent engagements in concert and opera include John Cage's Renga with the San Francisco Symphony, the title role in Handel's Saul for Trinity Wall Street's Twelfth Night Festival, performances of Schubert lieder with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Ginastera centennial celebration with the International Contemporary Ensemble, the world premiere of Judd Greenstein's A Marvelous Order with the NOW Ensemble, the title role in Pelléas et Mélisande with Floating Opera NY, Montresor in Stewart Copeland's The Cask of Amontillado with the American Modern Ensemble, and collaborations with Mario BrunelloJeremy DenkStefan Jackiw, and Gilbert Kalish, among others. Previous seasons included performances of Fariseo in Caldara's Maddalena with the American Classical Orchestra, Hannah-Before in Laura Kaminsky's As One with the Fry Street Quartet for American Opera Projects at BAM, Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with Musica Angelica, the title role in The War Reporter at The Prototype Festival and Stanford LIVE, Henrik in A Little Night Music at Opera Theatre of Saint LouisDover Beach at Lake George, Winterreise at the Austrian Cultural Forum of New York and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Kindertotenlieder  and Belzhazzar's Feast with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, and various recitals with pianists Thomas Bagwell, William Kelley, Christopher Reynolds, and Timothy Long. Christopher has also performed Sid in Britten's Albert Herring with Opera Vivente, Connie in Gordon's Grapes of Wrath at Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Il prigioniero in Il piccolo Marat at Avery Fisher Hall. In addition, he has toured as a soloist with the Boston Pops and Mark Morris Dance Group, and has appeared at Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, and Central City Opera.  
Christopher graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University with a B.A. in Music. He also holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and a D.M.A. in Voice from The Juilliard School. He is an Assistant Professor at William Paterson University where he leads the Vocal Studies program. Christopher lives in Brooklyn, New York with his husband, pianist and conductor Timothy Long, and their dog Pumpkin.
You can learn more about his twice GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble, the classical vocal male quartet New York Polyphony, by clicking here.


Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone
Jamie Bernstein, director
Jamie Bernstein, director View biography in full page >

Jamie Bernstein is a writer, narrator, broadcaster and film maker who has transformed a lifetime of loving music into a career of sharing her knowledge and excitement with others. 

Inspired by her father Leonard Bernstein's lifelong impulse to share and teach, Jamie has devised multiple ways of communicating her own excitement about orchestral music. Beginning 15 years ago with "The Bernstein Beat," a family concert about her father's music modeled after his own groundbreaking Young People's Concerts, Jamie has gone on to design, write and narrate concerts for worldwide audiences of all ages about the music of Mozart, Copland, Stravinsky and many others. Jamie creates and narrates two educational concerts a year with the New World Symphony in Miami; these engaging, informal "Discovery Concerts" are specially designed to attract audiences of all ages who are less familiar with concertgoing. 

Jamie travels the world as a concert narrator, appearing everywhere from Beijing to London to Vancouver. A frequent speaker on musical topics, Jamie has presented talks around the world, from conferences in Japan to seminars at Harvard University. In Spanish-speaking locations such as Madrid and Caracas, Jamie narrates en español - thanks to her Chilean-born mother, Felicia Montealegre, who raised her children to be bilingual.

In her role as a broadcaster, Jamie has produced and hosted shows for radio stations in the United States and Great Britain. She has presented the New York Philharmonic's live national radio broadcasts, as well as live broadcasts from Tanglewood. 

Jamie is the co-director of a film documentary, Crescendo: the Power of Music --  which focuses on children in struggling urban communities who participate in youth orchestra programs for social transformation inspired by Venezuela's groundbreaking El Sistema movement. The film has won numerous prizes on the festival circuit, and is now viewable on Netflix. More about Crescendo: the Power of Music can be found at

Jamie has also directed her father's chamber opera, Trouble in Tahiti, in various locations around the country, including the Moab Music Festival and Festival del Sole in Napa, CA.

Jamie is currently at work on a memoir, title to be announced, which will be published by HarperCollins in the spring of 2018, when her father's centennial celebrations will be well under way around the world. Jamie and her siblings, Alexander and Nina, will be racking up unprecedented mileage points!

Jamie also writes articles and poetry, which have appeared in such publications as Symphony, DoubleTake, Gourmet, Opera News, and Musical America. She also edits "Prelude, Fugue & Riffs," a newsletter about issues and events pertaining to her father's legacy.

Jamie Bernstein, director
Instrumental Ensemble
Program Notes Audio
BERNSTEIN - Trouble in Tahiti (47 min)