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One-Act Opera in 18 Scenes
95 Minutes in Duration
13 Vocalists
2 (5) Non-Singing Roles
Optional Chorus
Declamatory arioso
Large and Small Ensemble
Pitch centric, with representative key centers and modal harmonies
Full Orchestra, or Chamber Orchestra Scores
Piano/Vocal Score also available

Sample the music of 53rd Street, The Opera


Characters & Key Centers
Primary Tritone-based Tonal Axis
(out of respect for Berg’s Wozzeck):

Bum 1:  B

Bum I, Baritone
A raté, a restless cosmopolitan, a lost talent, possibly a victim himself, wearing a tattered letter jacket from Berkeley.


Benny:  F

Benny, Tenor
Homeless, slightly disturbed – The Holy Fool, applealing in his helplessness.  Middle aged.

Keys associated with lower-class characters are a semitone away from the keys of Benny & Bum I:

Street Vendor: C

Senegalese Street Vendor, Tenor
Con artist and good traditional family man, an immigrant.


Policeman: F#

Policeman, Bass
Of Irish-American extraction.  Honest, but of another generation.


Food Vendor: B

Food Vendor, Baritone
Greek or Near-Eastern.  He has a legitimate food stand, but secretly peddles drugs as well.  Nevertheless, he displays a certain human sensitivity.


Street Cleaner: E

Street Cleaner, Baritone
Puerto Rican, or Caribbean, tough but sentimental, an immigrant laborer.

Tritone-based Tonal Axis, of which both pitches are associated with the Pastor.  These pitches are maximally distant from the pitches of Bum I and Benny, and this is symbolic of the social distance separating these characters, as well:

Pastor: D

Pastor: A

Pastor, Tenor
Unctuous and waspish alternately, mainly snobbish and insensitive.

Keys associated with higher-class characters are a semitone away from the two keys of the Pastor:

French Mother
& Daughter: E

French Mother (Tourist), Mezzo-Sop
Upper-middle class Parisian, worldly, impatient, scornful.

French Daughter, Soprano
Slightly dazzled by New York City, fascinated, open but cautious, obedient.


News  Reporter: A

Reporter, Mezzo-Soprano
Dramatic, ambitious, craven, sentimental, crass, tough, modern.


MOMA Director
& Secretary: C#

Museum Director, Baritone
Jaded and overly sophisticated, the “new director” type:  connoisseur and financier of the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

Secretary, Soprano
Assistant to the MOMA Director.  A nervous type, pitched to please.  An accomplice.


Businessman: G

Businessman, Baritone
He sells perfumes and has petty bourgeois concern for property and propriety.


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