×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A View from the Bridge

Given the broad emotional canvas and a narrative of unusual intensity, Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" seems a natural choice for operatic adaptation. And indeed William Bolcom and Arnold Weinstein's compelling new opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago persuasively suggests that this play actually works better with arias attached.

With:
Eddie Carbone - Kim Josephson
Beatrice - Catherine Malfitano
Catherine - Juliana Rambaldi
Rodolpho - Gregory Turay
Alfieri - Timothy Nolen
Marco - Mark McCrory
Louis - Dale Travis
Mike - Jeffrey Pichon

Given the broad emotional canvas and a narrative of unusual intensity, Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” seems a natural choice for operatic adaptation. And indeed William Bolcom and Arnold Weinstein’s compelling and melodic new opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago persuasively suggests that this play actually works better with arias attached.

As a drama, this tale of forbidden passion and betrayal among struggling Italian immigrants in Brooklyn often seems to simmer with an intensity that can never be appropriately conveyed by Miller’s essentially realistic style.

But once you give Eddie Carbone the chance to sing about the agony of his forbidden love for Catherine, this Brooklyn dockworker does not have to reach very far to gain a tragic grandeur. The other dramaturgical revelation is Beatrice. In the script she’s a classic Miller enabler, but as sung by Catherine Malfitano, she becomes a profoundly moving and complex woman — far more complex than the guy she married.

Bolcom and Weinstein (with enthusiastic help from Miller himself) also came up with the fascinating device of employing the residents of Brooklyn — Italians all — as a kind of Greek chorus. The theme of community disapproval is integral to the script, and the use of the chorus to personify it is another example of how the opera often manages to take ideas further than the play did.

Frank Galati’s premiere Lyric Opera production features this director’s typically exquisite stage pictures. Although it seems to pay homage to the foreboding bridges in Jo Mielziner’s original stage design, Santo Loquasto’s setting is almost entirely dominated by Wendall K. Harrington’s ever-changing projections, which fill the massive stage of the Civic Opera House with layered period photographs of Brooklyn.

Bolcom’s music is harmonic and pleasing, full of variety and vibrancy. Although this is not an opera with crossover appeal for legit markets, the score includes echoes of populist American music — including the number “Paper Doll” and some boozy harmonizing from the dockworkers. Still, the passions evoked by poverty, love and pain are expressed in the traditional operatic manner, with plenty of high C’s sung with aplomb by Gregory Turay as Rodolpho.

The Lyric assembled a fine cast for the first outing, with the extraordinary Malfitano standing out. Juliana Rambaldi is a delightful Catherine, and both singers playing the young Italians are very fine (youthful tenor Turay captures a delightful note of innocence). Kim Josephson’s Eddie is a sympathetic character, but his persona is perhaps of insufficient stature to dominate the story in the way that he might.

One also wishes that the chorus was used more (they seem to move on and off for tiny snatches of music). But these are minor worries that do not detract from an opera that crackles with power.

A View from the Bridge

Civic Opera House, Chicago; 3,563 seats; $122 top

Production: A Lyric Opera of Chicago presentation of an opera in two acts with music by William Bolcom, libretto by Arnold Weinstein and Arthur Miller, adapted from Miller's play. Directed by Frank Galati. Conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

Creative: Sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto; lighting by Duane Schuler; projections by Wendall K. Harrington. Opened Oct. 9, 1999. Reviewed Oct. 13. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MIN.

Cast: Eddie Carbone - Kim Josephson
Beatrice - Catherine Malfitano
Catherine - Juliana Rambaldi
Rodolpho - Gregory Turay
Alfieri - Timothy Nolen
Marco - Mark McCrory
Louis - Dale Travis
Mike - Jeffrey Pichon

More Legit

  • Nantucket Sleigh Ride review

    Off Broadway Review: John Guare's 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride'

    Anyone who doesn’t have a cottage on the Cape or the Islands, as they say in Massachusetts, might be puzzled by the title of John Guare’s new play.  “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” is no Revere Beach amusement park ride, but an old whaling term for the death throes of a whale that is still attached to [...]

  • Kiss Me Kate review

    Broadway Review: 'Kiss Me, Kate'

    No, Kate doesn’t get spanked. And for those wondering how the dicey ending of “Kiss Me, Kate” — that musical mashup of “The Taming of the Shrew” and backstage battling exes — would come across in these more sensitive times, well, that’s also been reconsidered for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway revival of the Cole [...]

  • Betrayal review Tom Hiddleston

    West End Review: Tom Hiddleston in 'Betrayal'

    It takes three to tango, and Jamie Lloyd’s “Betrayal” completely grasps that. Having made it his mission to modernize the way we stage Harold Pinter’s plays, his chic, stripped-down staging starring Tom Hiddleston as a cuckolded husband might be his best attempt yet. Pared back and played out on an empty stage, this masterful play [...]

  • Johnny Thompson

    Magician Johnny 'The Great Tomsoni' Thompson Dies at 84

    Johnny Thompson, also known as “The Great Tomsoni,” died in Las Vegas on March 9. He was 84. The showman was a versatile performer of music, magic, comedy, and drama throughout his decades long career. Thompson was born to Polish ancestry in Chicago in 1934. He began his career as a musician and musical arranger. [...]

  • The Devil Wears Prada

    'The Devil Wears Prada' Musical Taps Anna D. Shapiro to Direct

    Miranda Priestly can’t call all the shots. The upcoming musical adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada” has tapped Anna D. Shapiro to direct the show, which is eyeing an eventual Broadway run. The story of an aspiring writer who works for the magazine editor from hell has previously been a best-selling book and a hit [...]

  • Hugh JackmanBrit Awards 2019 Arrivals, London,

    Hugh Jackman Starring in 'The Music Man' Revival on Broadway

    Hugh Jackman will return to Broadway in an upcoming revival of Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.” It marks Jackman’s first musical role in more than a decade, which should make it a hot ticket. His last one, “The Boy From Oz,” resulted in a Tony Award for best actor. Jackman will play con man Harold [...]

  • Gareth Owen sound design

    Listen: The Secrets of Broadway Sound Design

    Sound design might be the most thankless job on Broadway — because when you get it right, nobody notices. Besides, a lot of theatergoers — and more than a few Tony voters — don’t quite know what it is. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Broadway and West End sound designer Gareth Owen (“Come From [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content