NBC OPERA THEATRE: THE SAINT OF BLEECKER STREET (TV)

Summary

One in this series of NBC Opera Company productions. Set in an Italian-American neighborhood in New York City, this Pulitzer Prize-winning, English-language opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, originally produced on Broadway, focuses on the relationship between Annina, a devout young woman revered within the community as a saint, and her brother, Michele, who has a violently skeptical attitude toward religion. As the opera begins, neighbors have gathered on Good Friday to witness Annina having a vision of the Virgin Mary. Michele arrives and disperses the crowd. He rebukes Don Marco, the parish priest, for encouraging the fanatical neighbors to prey on his innocent sister. Several months later, as the community prepares for the Feast of San Genarro, Annina complies with Michele's wishes and remains behind with her friend Carmela, who reveals that she is engaged to Salvatore, and Annina speaks of her ardent desire to become a nun. Neighbors tell Annina that the crowd is clamoring for her to lead the procession, and they criticize Michele for withholding his permission. Annina warns Michele against antagonizing the overwrought mob, but to no avail -- three men converge on him and chain him to a fence as the crowd bears Annina away. Michele's girlfriend, Desideria, releases the battered Michele and cradles him in her arms. Eight months later, the community assembles at a local restaurant to celebrate Carmela and Salvatore's wedding. Michele, invited out of courtesy to Annina, remains aloof. While the guests are in another room, Desideria, who has been excluded from the celebration and scorned because of her association with Michele, arrives uninvited and persuades Michele to allow her to join the party. A brawl ensues and the enraged Michele berates the guests for their intolerant attitude.

At Carmela and Salvatore's wedding, the parish priest, Don Marco, admonishes Michele for antagonizing the guests, who leave the restaurant. Annina tries to soothe her distraught brother as his girlfriend, Desideria, looks on in contempt. Goaded by jealousy, Desideria taunts Michele and accuses him of being in love with his sister. Incensed, he seizes a knife, stabs Desideria, and flees, leaving Annina to comfort her. As they pray, Desideria dies in Annina's arms. In the final scene, several months have passed, and Michele has not yet been apprehended. Annina, grief-stricken and near death, asks for permission to enter the convent. Don Marco presides as the neighbors gather to witness the sacred ceremony in which Annina takes the veil. As the frail Annina utters her vows, Michele bursts in and implores her to forsake her calling. Unable to halt the proceedings, he watches mutely as Annina, summoning all her strength, completes the rite and succumbs to death. No commercials.

Details

  • NETWORK: NBC
  • DATE: May 15, 1955 Sunday 3:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:30:19
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T90:0141
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Operas
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1950-1966
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

  • Charles Polacheck … Associate Producer
  • Kirk Browning … Director
  • Gian Carlo Menotti … Composer
  • Samuel Krachmalnick … Conductor
  • Mignon Dunn … Cast, Assunta
  • Maria Di Gerlando … Cast, Carmela
  • Elisabeth Carron … Cast, Maria Corona
  • Ernesto Gonzalez … Cast, Her Dumb Son
  • Leon Lishner … Cast, Don Marco
  • Virginia Copeland … Cast, Annina
  • Richard Cassilly … Cast, Michele
  • Rosemary Kuhlmann … Cast, Desideria
  • David Aiken … Cast, Salvatore
  • Lucy Renee Becque … Cast, Concettina
  • Reid Shelton … Cast, A Young Man
  • Bessie Mijanovich … Cast, A Woman
  • Russell Goodwin … Cast, The Bartender
  • Keith Kaldenberg … Cast, The First Guest
  • John Reardon … Cast, The Second Guest
  • Dorothy Krebill … Cast, A Nun
  • R.W. Barry … Cast, A Young Priest
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