From A Streetcar Named Desire (1995), by André Previn.
Soprano: Pamela Andrews
Pianist: Alan Hicks
Filmed and recorded in Llewellyn Hall, Canberra, by the Australian National University, November 2010, on behalf of Pamela Andrews.
Edited for YouTube by JRR4FILM Productions.
© JRR4FILM Productions 2011
André George Previn (born Andreas Ludwig Priwin) was born in Berlin, Germany, but became a naturalised American citizen after moving as a young boy to Los Angeles with his Jewish Russian family to escape the Nazis. He has won four Academy Awards, ten Grammys, and is a pianist, conductor and composer. A Streetcar Named Desire is an opera composed by Previn in 1995, with the libretto by Philip Littell. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams (1947) and received its premiere at the San Francisco Opera during the 1998-99 season. The play is about a culture clash between two very strong characters: Blanche DuBois, a Southern Belle, and Stanley Kowalski, a dominating, physically and emotionally abusive man from the industrial working class. Blanche lives a life of grandeur and pretense, alluding to a life of virtue and culture, which, in reality, masks a serious alcohol problem. Blanche has arrived at the apartment of her sister, Stella Kowalski, who has a complex relationship with her husband, Stanley, based on a sexual chemistry that Blanche doesn’t understand. Stella welcomes Blanche with much apprehension, as she doesn’t think that Blanche and Stanley will get along — and she’s right. The situation worsens as Stanley discovers Blanche’s true past, and attempts to “unmask” it to her; the final collision that the two characters face is a scene in which Stanley rapes Blanche, which results in a nervous breakdown for her. In the closing moments, Blanche utters her signature line to the kindly doctor who leads her away: “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”