Bernstein and Berkeley double bill photo on Stagedoor

Bernstein and Berkeley double bill Tickets

The Royal College of Music Opera Studio is taking audiences back to the booming fifties this summer with a double bill of Bernstein’s sardonic Trouble in Tahiti and Berkeley’s delightful comedy of manners, A Dinner Engagement.

Bernstein and Berkeley double bill photo on Stagedoor
Show Ended

Date & Time

Show ended

Wed 8 May

About Bernstein and Berkeley double bill

Promising an evening of sparkling musical satire, the operas originally premiered within two years of each other and, when performed together, provide insight and witty commentary on the domestic conventions of the 1950s. In the first performance of the evening, the RCM Opera Studio lifts the curtain on 1950s suburbia with a rare staging of Trouble in Tahiti. Peeling back the sunny veneer of the American dream, Bernstein’s seven-scene operetta offers a glimpse into the marriage of brash capitalist Sam and frustrated housewife, Dinah. Bernstein provided both the music and libretto for his 1952 satire, penning much of his tale of marital misery while on his own honeymoon. From arias that plumb the depths of domestic woe to the infectiously cheerful Greek chorus and their swing-style songs, this kitchen sink drama brings evening to the stage: big musical numbers, traditional opera and a touch of jazz. Berkley’s A Dinner Engagement follows, providing a comic lift with the disastrous dinner plans of its central bickering couple. Hard times have fallen upon Lord and Lady Dunmow, who are struggling to keep up appearances for some important dinner guests. The Grand Duchess is en route with her son, Prince Philippe – an eligible match for the Dunmows’ beautiful, albeit sulky, daughter Susan. Unfortunately, all attempts at self-catering quickly descend into culinary calamity. As smoke begins to billow from the ovens, settle in for a charming comedy of manners, cleverly told in a light-hearted libretto by Paul Dehn and set to Berkeley’s colourful score.