A View from the Bridge
Opera in two acts
Music: William Bolcom
Libretto: Arnold Weinstein and Arthur Miller
Premiere: Chicago, 1999
Running time: about 2.5 hours
Sung in English
Eddie Carbone is an Italian American longshoreman in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn in the 1950s. When Rodolfo immigrates to America and falls in love with Eddie’s niece, Eddie is unable to come to terms, which leads to tragedy. Libretto by Arnold Weinstein and Arthur Miller, based on Miller's play of the same name. Music by Grammy and Pulitzer winner William Bolcom. Not to be missed!
KIM JOSEPHSON, Eddie
– William Bolcom
KIRI DEONARINE, Catherine
ERIC MARGIORE, Rodolpho
JONATHAN LASCH, Marco
SUZANNE MALLARE ACTON
In Red Hook, Brooklyn, in the 1950's, the lawyer Alfieri leads a chorus of neighborhood people in telling the story of dockworker Eddie Carbone.
Eddie has arranged for two of his wife Beatrice's cousins from Italy to come to America illegally, as "submarines", and work on the docks. Beatrice's niece Catherine lives with them; Eddie is overprotective, complaining about her clothes, and only reluctantly agrees to let her take a job as a stenographer.
The submarines arrive, Marco and Rodolfo. Marco has a wife and children in Italy, but Rodolfo is single, attractive, and "practically blond"; Catherine is immediately attracted to him. Rodolfo tells of his plans to return to Italy with enough money to buy a motorcycle to deliver messages on, and explains that he once got a job singing in a restaurant. When he starts to sing, Eddie warns him to keep a low profile, but Catherine is clearly impressed.
As the weeks pass, Catherine and Rodolfo are spending more time together, and Eddie complains to Beatrice that Rodolfo only wants to marry her so he can be a citizen. But Beatrice has a different problem; Eddie has been neglecting her for months. Eddie confronts Catherine when she gets home, but Beatrice comforts her, warning her that Eddie's attitude may be jealousy.
Eddie goes to Alfieri to see if the law can help him stop the marriage, claiming that he thinks Rodolfo is gay. But Alfieri warns Eddie that he has to let Catherine go, telling him that the only way to stop the wedding would be to report Rodolfo to Immigration, which the neighborhood would see as a betrayal.
Instead, Eddie taunts Rodolfo with his effeminate ways, and under the pretense of teaching him to box, knocks him down. Marco, annoyed with Eddie, challenges him to a contest of strength and wins, as Rodolfo dances with Catherine.
While Beatrice is Christmas shopping and Eddie and Marco are at work, Catherine and Rodolfo are left alone in the apartment. Rodolfo reassures her that he loves her, but refuses to return to Italy with her to starve. He tells her she has to leave Eddie's house.
When Eddie returns, drunk, and sees the two of them coming out of the bedroom, he tries to throw Rodolfo out. When Catherine tries to stop him, he grabs her and kisses her passionately; when Rodolfo intervenes, Eddie kisses him as well, claiming that "he likes it."
Later, Eddie tells the lawyer that he's sure now that Rodolfo is gay. Alfieri warns Eddie of what will happen if he turns the submarines in to Immigration, but he still makes the phone call. When he learns that two more submarines have arrived, he tries to get them all out, but Immigration arrives before any of them can escape. As he is taken away, Marco spits in Eddie's face, accusing him in front of the crowd. Eddie claims to be innocent, but his neighbors turn away and refuse to speak to him.
In prison, Marco is angry that the law has no punishment for Eddie, who is sending him back to poverty and dooming his children to die of hunger.
Beatrice tries to convince Eddie to come to Catherine and Rodolfo's wedding, but he refuses, until Marco apologizes for accusing him. Rodolfo tells Eddie that Marco is out of prison and looking for Eddie, but Eddie refuses to leave. Beatrice tries to tell Eddie that what he wants is not Marco's apology but Catherine, but it is too late; Marco has arrived. The two men fight, and when Eddie pulls a knife, Marco forces it back into Eddie's chest. As he dies in Beatrice's arms, Alfieri and the chorus reflect on the uselessness and inevitability of Eddie's downfall.
WILLIAM BOLCOM is an American composer and pianist born in 1938.
His works include:
- Songs of Innocence and of Experience (won Multiple Grammys)
- Twelve New Etudes for Piano (won Pulitzer Prize in Music)
- Four operas: Lucrezia, McTeague, A View from the Bridge and A Wedding
- Symphonies, concertos, chamber music, songs, and film scores.
- 2013: Suite No. 2 for Solo Violin (Gil Shaham) and Games and Challenges: Something Wonderful Right Away (Time for Three and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Krzysztof Urbanski)
- 2012: Second Piano Quintet (Pro Arte Quartet and pianist Christopher Taylor); Chestnuts [4 songs] (Emalie Savoy, soprano, Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, Dimitri Pittas, tenor, Joshua Hopkins, baritone, and Warren Jones, piano); Gettysburg, July 1, 1853 (Nathan Wyatt, baritone and Lucas Wong, piano); Ninth Symphony (Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra [Rice University], Larry Rachleff, conductor); and The Jersey Side (soprano Christine Brewer and pianist Roger Vignoles)
As a pianist he has recorded for Advance, Jazzology, Musical Heritage, Nonesuch, Vox, and Omega. For 40 years throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad, he has performed and recorded with his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris.
Various awards throughout William Bolcom's career include:
2011: Recipient of American Music Center Letter of Distinction
2010: Inducted into American Classical Music Hall of Fame
2010: Recipient of the Eddie Medora King Award from The University of Texas at Austin, Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music
2010: Honorary Doctor of Music from University of Hartford
2007: Named "Composer of the Year" by Musical America
2006: National Medal of Arts bestowed by the President of the United States
2006: Named Outstanding Classical Composer at the Detroit Music Awards
2006: Honorary Doctor of Music from Baldwin-Wallace College
2006: The recording of his Songs of Innocence and of Experience received four Grammys for Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance, Best Classical Contemporary Composition, and Best Producer of the Year/Classical
2004: Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from New School University in New York
2003: Recipient of the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award from the University of Washington
2001: Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts from New England Conservatory of Music
1997: The University of Michigan's Henry Russel Lectureship, awarded to a senior faculty member
1995: Honorary Doctor of Music from Albion College
1994: Honorary Doctor of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music
1993: Koussevitzky Foundation Award for Lyric Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (written for James Galway)
1992: Investiture in the American Academy of Arts and Letters
1988: The Pulitzer Prize for Music for Twelve New Etudes for Piano
1977: The Henry Russel Award, the highest academic prize given by the University of Michigan
1976: Koussevitzky Foundation Award for the First Piano Quartet
1966: The Marc Blitzstein Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters for Dynamite Tonite, an opera for actors written with Arnold Weinstein
1965, 1968: Two Guggenheim fellowships
1953: BMI award
Several Rockefeller Foundation awards
Several NEA grants
The Michigan Council for the Arts Award
The Governor's Arts Award from the State of Michigan
General Motors Foundation
supports Michigan Opera Theatre