THE SAINT OF BLEECKER STREET is, to me, the ultimate 20th century American opera, even though Menotti was born in Italy. The vocal score is probably one of the best I've run into; the print for the English (and German translation) lyrics is large enough to read, and the score is complete. When I mention the completeness, I am referring to the 'Jukebox Music' that opens Act Two. Only once have I heard this in performance (at New York University in the late 1980s); apparently, Menotti cut it and permission must be specifically obtained from Menotti's estate to include it in a production. Even though the current Chandos recording has the complete scene, those who own the original 1954 recording will be pleased to know that the score also includes the beginning of Act Three's Subway Scene (which had to be cut because of the LP timings of the day). SAINT's first performances played on Broadway (Menotti won a Pulitzer Prize for it); the vocal score is a must for any serious student of either romantic composition or accessable, singable modern opera.
- (Minneapolis, Minnesota)