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Music Text

Libretto by the composer; German version by Paul Esterházy (E,G)


M,BBar,Jazz trio (S or M,hT,hBar);
2(II=picc).2.corA.2.bcl.2(II=dbn)- & low TD/snare dr/tgl/wdbls/tpl.bls/gong/tom-t/vib/xyl-harp-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes, Sole Agent

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Waltham, Massachusetts
Elliot Silverstein
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Company: Brandeis University


DINAH Mezzo-Soprano
SAM Bass-Baritone
Trio Soprano or Mezzo, High Tenor, High Baritone
Time and Place

1950s, suburban America


A trio of jazz vocalists advertises the charms of ideal family life in 1950s Suburbia, U.S.A. In their little house Sam and Dinah quarrel at breakfast. After ten years of marriage they wish they could be kind to each other, but there is no real communication between them. In his office Sam clinches a deal and makes a loan with his customary élan. The trio extols his business acumen and big heart. On her psychiatrist’s couch Dinah relates a dream: as she struggled to find her way out of a crying garden, a voice beckoned to her, promising that love would lead her to a quiet place. The couple avoids each other at lunch, reminiscing about the beautiful garden of peace and life where they met. The trio sings a vivid interlude about suburban life. Sam goes to the gym rather than attend his son’s handball game, commenting on his own will and desire to succeed. Dinah excitedly describes the escapist musical Trouble in Tahiti, belying her outward suggestion that the movie was awful. Sam and Dinah return home, while the choir sings commentary. The couple argues again briefly before Sam wearily suggests a movie - some new musical about Tahiti. Dinah winces, then agrees, and they both depart to seek out the artificial magic of the silver screen.


Comic, Romantic

Recommended Recording

Karl Daymond / Stephanie Novacek / Paul Daniel / Tom Cairns
BBC/Opus Arte

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