I first came across Trouble in Tahitiin London in the 1990s. I was directing an opera ensemble called Opera Shop. Trouble in Tahitiwas proposed by a member of the company and gained some traction before we went off in another direction. I was against staging the work. As a young person without attachments and living in the middle of the great urban centre that is London, it didn’t speak to me and I wasn’t sure I could make it resonate for the audience. Quite a few years later, married with kids and living in the Western Suburbs of Perth, it is speaking to me a lot more.

Bernstein’s insight into suburban myth-making is still relevant and his exploration of the strain this puts on finding authentic relationships is very much of the moment in our post-truth world. This was his first opera, which he began on his honeymoon in 1951. Two others followed ( Candide, 1956 and A Quiet Placein 1983). The latter is a sequel to Trouble in Tahitiand actually incorporates the chamber opera.

Leonard Bernstein and his wife Shirley backstage at Carnegie Hall the year...

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