Doo-Wop And Knife Fights

Bolcom's A View from the Bridge packs the punch of a boilermaker

Arthur Miller looked positively giddy as 3,500 Chicagoans stood up and yelled at him. No, it wasn't a riot, but the final curtain call at this month's world premiere of A View from the Bridge, William Bolcom's operatic version of Miller's 1955 play about love and death on the Brooklyn waterfront. The Lyric Opera of Chicago bet big on Bolcom, giving his American-style grand opera a production worthy of Aida, and the horse paid off: View packs the theatrical punch of a double boilermaker.

"It's a kind of American verismo," Bolcom says of View, using the Italian term for such popular...

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