Domestic opera “Trouble in Tahiti” is short but stirring

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“Years have passed, nearly ten, and what has happened to all the mystery?”

Opera Theatre of the Rockies celebrates Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday with one of his more obscure treasures, the jazz opera “Trouble in Tahiti.”

The night begins with selections from “Peter Pan,” “On the Town,” “Candide” and more. Stephanie Brink brings big-stage footwork and sparkling personality to her solo.

The opera opens on Sam and Dinah, a 1950s suburban couple whose marriage is on the rocks. We see him at the office, feeling big. We see her at the therapist, feeling small. Meanwhile, a jazz trio extols the American dream. Dinah ends up at a “terrible, awful movie” (Trouble in Tahiti), where the hero falls in love due to island magic.

© Opera Theatre of the Rockies

Valerie Nicolosi enchants as Dinah, her rich, resonant voice filling the stage. Your heart will break along with hers.

Bradley Thompson thrives at braggadocio as Sam lords over the office. His facial reactions and top-notch diction keep the one-sided conversations entertaining.

If you associate opera with grandeur, “Trouble in Tahiti” might surprise you. It’s a very intimate show, only 45 minutes long, with minimal sets and a piano. The costumes pop, however, from the trio’s suits to Dinah’s classic trench coat.

One hundred years later, Bernstein remains unrivaled at longing. His music builds, then swells, then hopes. As Sam and Dinah make excuses to avoid each other, their duet lifts you out of your seat, taking us all to the “quiet place” where love can begin anew.

Additional Notes:

For those seeking the big opera experience, Opera Theatre returns with Verdi’s “Aida” May 10-13. Stay tuned for ticket information.

Chapman Foundation Recital Hall offers great acoustics, even from the cheap seats. We did find the chairs rather stiff, so plan accordingly.

“Trouble in Tahiti” features marital strife and a man in his boxers.

Presented by Opera Theatre of the Rockies and Theatreworks
February 22 – March 4, 2018

Chapman Foundation Recital Hall at
Ent Center for the Arts
5225 N Nevada Ave
Box Office: (719) 255-3232

Admission: $50 Tier 1/$24 Tier 3; UCCS students free (buy tickets)
Running Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

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