Bernstein - Edwin Sunderland
A Quiet Place (1983/84, arr.2013)Duration: 100 minutes
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Stephen Wadsworth (E)
Major roles: S,T,Bar,B; minor roles: M,A,2T,Bar,B; vocal quartet(SATB); 1(=picc.afl).1(=corA).3(I=Ebcl,III=bcl).1(=dbn)-220.127.116.11-perc(2)-pft(=cel)-strings:(min.18.104.22.168.1 or max.22.214.171.124.1)
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
World premiere of version
Konzerthaus, Großer Saal, Berlin
Conductor: Kent Nagano
Company: Ensemble Modern
Dede, Junior, François and friends gather at Dinah's funeral. Sam, Dinah’s widowed husband, is estranged from his family and stands isolated in a corner. During the funeral ceremony, Sam and Junior come to blows. The coffin lid is knocked shut with a crash; Junior, left alone, becomes aware of his disarray and tenderly runs his hand across his mother's coffin. At home later that evening, Sam is alone; reading Dinah’s old diaries evokes a memory of thirty years ago. Sam’s reverie is interrupted when Dede comes shyly to visit him. Next door in Junior’s room, François confronts Junior with his behavior at the funeral parlor. Father and daughter embrace; Junior collapses in François' arms. Dede and François meet in the hallway, where François breaks down, overcome by the strain of the day. The next morning, Dede and Junior play games remembered from childhood. François joins them, and then Sam appears, deciding to welcome François into the family. Sam reads aloud from Dinah’s diary, and in another emotional disagreement Junior hurls Dinah's diary into the air. With the pages of Dinah's diary scattered about on the ground, they recognize one by one that they can learn to communicate and reach out to one another.