Saint of Bleecker Street, The
- Bruce Archibald
Musical drama in three acts by Gian Carlo Menotti to his own libretto; New York, Broadway Theatre, 27 December 1954.
The action takes place in ‘the present’ in the section of New York known as Little Italy. The story centres on the conflict between a religious mystic, the sickly Annina (soprano), and her agnostic brother Michele (tenor). In Act 1 scene i Annina is awaited by her neighbours, who deem her a saint who can work miracles. She is carried out from her room and sings an aria describing the crucifixion (‘Oh, sweet Jesus, spare me this agony’) at the end of which the stigmata appear on her hands, as has happened on previous Good Fridays. The people try to touch her but Michele arrives and drives them away. In scene ii Annina’s friend Carmela (soprano) tells of her impending wedding and Annina expresses her desire to become a nun. Michele enters, angrily as usual, and denounces her religiosity. The hatred that people generally feel towards him is vividly expressed when a crowd ties him to a fence as a Catholic procession passes by....