June 17, 1983 | Houston Grand Opera
A Quiet Place
Composer:Leonard Bernstein
Librettist:Stephen Wadsworth
Dede, Junior, François and friends gather at Dinah's funeral. Sam, Dinah’s widowed husband, is estranged from his family and stands isolated in a corner. During the funeral ceremony, Sam and Junior come to blows. The coffin lid is knocked shut with a crash; Junior, left alone, becomes aware of his disarray and tenderly runs his hand across his mother's coffin. At home later that evening, Sam is alone; reading Dinah’s old diaries evokes a memory of thirty years ago. The first half of Trouble in Tahiti is reenacted, as a flashback in Sam's mind. Sam’s reverie is interrupted when Dede comes shyly to visit him. Next door in Junior’s room, François confronts Junior with his behavior at the funeral parlor. Father and daughter embrace; Junior collapses in François' arms. Dede and François meet in the hallway, where François breaks down, overcome by the strain of the day. Sam finds a trophy on a shelf, which reawakens his memory, and the final scenes from Tahiti are enacted. The next morning, Dede and Junior play games remembered from childhood. François joins them, and then Sam appears, deciding to welcome François into the family. Sam reads aloud from Dinah’s diary, and in another emotional disagreement Junior hurls Dinah's diary into the air. With the pages of Dinah's diary scattered about on the ground, they recognize one by one that they can learn to communicate and reach out to one another.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Poetic, Romantic; subjects - Contemporary, Relationships, Society

Original Cast
Chester Ludgin (Sam)
Timothy Nolen (Junior, Sam's son)
Sheri Greenwald (Dede, Sam's daughter)
Peter Kazaras (François, Junior's boyfriend, later Dede's husband)
Edward Crofts (Sam as a young man)
Diane Kesling (Dinah, Sam's wife)

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