The Saint of Bleecker Street

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The Saint of Bleecker Street
Opera by Gian Carlo Menotti
The composer in 1944
Librettist Menotti
Language English
Premiere December 27, 1954 (1954-12-27)
Broadway Theatre, New York

The Saint of Bleecker Street is an opera in three acts by Gian Carlo Menotti to an original English libretto by the composer. It was first performed at the Broadway Theatre in New York City on December 27, 1954. David Poleri and Davis Cunningham alternated in the role of Michele, and Thomas Schippers conducted. It ran for 92 consecutive performances.

The opera is through-composed, and set in the intensely Catholic Little Italy of New York City in 1954.[1] It follows Annina, a young and simple woman who is blessed with the stigmata. She often hears voices and has visions of the angels. Her brother, Michele, is an atheist who is intensely protective of his sister; he believes she requires hospitalization, but he cannot stop the rest of the neighborhood from believing her a saint.

The Saint of Bleecker Street won Menotti the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1955 and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical.[2] Although it is not part of the standard operatic repertory, recordings of it exist, and it is occasionally performed.

External image
George Tooker: The Subway (1950)

The original set for The Saint of Bleecker Street was designed by the American symbolic realist painter George Tooker, and was based on elements from his painting The Subway, currently in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Role Voice type Premiere cast,
(Conductor: Thomas Schippers)
Annina soprano Virginia Copeland
Don Marco bass Leon Lishner
Michele tenor David Poleri
Assunta mezzo-soprano Catherine Akos
Maria Corona soprano Maria Marlo
Desideria mezzo-soprano Gloria Lane
Salvatore baritone David Aiken
Carmela soprano Maria di Gerlando
A young man tenor Richard Cassilly
A young woman soprano Elisabeth Carron
1st guest tenor Keith Kaldenberg
2nd guest baritone John Reardon
Concettina silent role Lucy Becque
Maria's son silent role Ernesto Gonzales
Bartender silent role Russell Goodwin


  1. ^ Although Bleecker Street is approximately six blocks away from the center of Little Italy.
  2. ^ Elise Kuhl Kirk (2001). American Opera. University of Illinois Press. p. 260. ISBN 0252026233. 

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