Composer List


Genre List

Opera Length

Advanced Search


Bernstein, Leonard

Trouble in Tahiti (original orchestral version) (1951)

Duration: 40 minutes
One-act opera in seven scenes

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).

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

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


TrioSoprano 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

Contemporary, Relationships, Society

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

Click here to purchase this DVD from Amazon


Items on Sale

Trouble In Tahiti - vocal score(Vocal Score)> Details
Mailing List

Sign up for news updates and offers via email

Audio Visual Gallery

Explore our library of over 1000 online scores

FAQ | Contact Us | Links | About Us | Shop Directory | Careers | Terms of use | RSS Index