Tom Cairns cinematic film presents Bernstein's short opera set in 1950's America. The opera is a satire on American suburban married life with Dinah and Sam facing marital breakdown, from ... See full summary »




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Cast overview:
Stephanie Novacek ...
Karl Daymond ...
Mary Hegarty ...
Tom Randle ...
Toby Stafford-Allen ...
Finn Caiger-Smith ...
Sam Junior
Edward K. Gibbon ...
Isadora Dooley-Hunter ...
Young Dinah
Jonathan Lunn ...
Dinah's Father
Richard Curto ...
James Dodd ...
Gavin Fitzpatrick ...
Steven Hughes ...
Christopher Marney ...
Luis Rodriguez ...


Tom Cairns cinematic film presents Bernstein's short opera set in 1950's America. The opera is a satire on American suburban married life with Dinah and Sam facing marital breakdown, from which the lastest movie release "Trouble in Tahiti" is the only escape. The score is a pathbreaking fusion of lyric art with popular entertainment. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

1 January 2001 (UK)  »

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Version of Trouble in Tahiti (1952) See more »

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Oh for an escapist solution. version 1.01
31 August 2010 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Recently I managed to purchase DVDs of Bernstein's Trouble In Tahiti and Candide and this is my comment re Trouble In Tahiti.

Trouble In Tahiti is a short opera, here 40 minutes duration. My copy is the BBC Wales / Opus Arts filmed version with the visuals showing the setting in a clearer way to what a stage version could.

The disk also has a making of and two explanatory sets of talking head notes, one by Humphrey Burton and another by the conductor, Paul Daniel. The disk is two sided and has both PAL and NTSC.


I had been trying to get a DVD of A Quiet Place, which has the whole of this as the central act while including a fuller context as surrounds. I really like the music of A Quiet Place. The opera subject matter is gloomy but the music makes it approachable and the final third includes a temporary reconciliation of the people disaster of the plot. Wow music. It is not available on DVD just yet.

I found this BBC DVD to be a downer as the music is as nice as expected but the visuals underline that the storyline is about a disaster. The Burton background notes do explain that there is a tension between the music and the meaning. With a CD I could get lost in the music, word sounds as music rather than meaning, with this the meaning gets in the way. I am managing to acclimatise; first by putting the disk aside for a few months and then by not using this as something to sit and watch, more something to put on when pottering in the kitchen.


Further, while this is music from the 1950's I find it to be very modern in meaning. The glam sound versus the wrecked content, that I can relate to. The Barbican version of Candide also has this, suggesting that Bernstein knew the modern world even in the 1950's.

For entertainment I had a need for the disaster aspects to be calmed. The two disks that I purchased do not make that easy but I know that the music side of these disks can be real escapist fun.

For me, the scariest part of this is drawn out by Burton's comments. How far does one go in openly considering one's past? This says that Bernstein had a difficult childhood. Used to be I felt a religious need to keep quiet about all sorts of details re that sort of thing and now I notice how damaging keeping quiet can sometimes be. But this feels like disease too. I still do not have a good solution and Bernstein appears to have dived into exploring this early on. Difficult questions. The Making Of has a different understanding, a fifties understanding, which is a whole lot safer.

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