News from RICE University

Shepherd School fall opera, ‘Street Scene,’ set for Nov. 4 and 6

The year is 1946, and it’s an unbearably hot day on the east side of Manhattan. Drama abounds, from neighborhood gossip to romantic affairs to daily squabbles. Welcome to “Street Scene,” the fall opera production from the Rice University Shepherd School opera program, set for Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. in Brockman Hall for Opera’s Morrison Theater.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1929 play of the same name by Elmer Rice, the performance examines the complicated daily lives of the people living in an apartment building and the surrounding neighborhood. The production navigates their wide-ranging emotions, from the sense of despair that hovers over their interactions to their hopes, dreams and joyful moments.

Blending the best elements of traditional European opera and American musical theater with blues and jazz musical influences, this “American opera” includes music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Langston Hughes and the book by Rice. The groundbreaking work received the inaugural Tony Award for best original score in 1947.

And while the production premiered on Broadway 75 years ago this year, the show’s themes of love, loss, betrayal and the human condition still resonate today.

“The same topics, the same storylines that we encounter with our neighbors, in our communities and on the news, they’re all in this opera,” said Pat Diamond, stage director for the production.

Diamond said the combination of the talents of Weill, Rice and Hughes created something unique in the opera world.

“It’s really quite a beautiful opera,” he said.

Tickets are $50 for preferred seating (including one drink ticket), $25 for general admission and $10 for Rice faculty, staff and students. Shepherd School faculty, staff and students receive one free ticket per person. To purchase tickets, visit .