Skip to main content

Search form

Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Opera North, photo Alastair Muir

There's Trouble. In Tahiti

Leonard Bernstein's blockbuster fuses opera and musical theatre with jazz and Latin rhythms and the piece, performed by Opera North, follows a warring suburban couple, Sam and Dinah, over the course of one day.

Opera North won terrific reviews for its production of Leonard Bernstein’s bittersweet one-act satire of suburban angst. To celebrate the great composer’s centenary in 2018, audiences were able to watch the opera online for free. 

What's the story?

In 1950s suburbia, Sam and Dinah appear to have the perfect life in their little white house. But their growing detachment exposes a mutual feeling that they are trapped in a life that has turned into a lie.

Sam escapes to the hyper-masculine, win-or-lose world of work and the gym, while Dinah loses herself in the movies, where the hit picture of the day is the ominously-titled Trouble in Tahiti.

A jazz trio provides an ironic gloss on the story, pointing up the stark contrast between the unreal fantasy of domestic bliss peddled by the ad-men and the painful truth of Sam and Dinah’s lives.

From Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti - by Opera NorthWallis Giunta as Dinah with Nicholas Butterfield, Fflur Wyn and Joseph Shovelton as the Trio Photo Alastair Muir

Bernstein’s score for his deeply touching first opera is heavily influenced by the syncopated rhythms of jazz and by the distinctive American vernacular of Hollywood and Broadway.

Accessibile works

The Space supported Opera North to capture this production, which was available with audio description, sign interpretation and captions in order to make the work accessible to the widest possible audience.

Find out more about the production

From 25 August 2018 until 24 November 2018 the work could also be seen on OperaVision.

The worls was also acquired by Sky Arts as part of global celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the legendary American composer and conductor.