A Brief Encounter with André Previn

A Brief Encounter with Andr&#233 Previn

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Click here to listen to André Previn describe the process behind Brief Encounter.

A Brief Encounter with André Previn

Photo credit: Lillian Birnbaum (2001)
André Previn
A brief encounter between two married strangers at a train station develops into a short but powerful affair of the heart filled with all of the complications, the emotions, the passion, and ultimately, the disheartening impossibility of love. On May 1, the Houston Grand Opera premieres André Previn’s new opera Brief Encounter, based on the 1945 Oscar-nominated film of the same name, with libretto and stage direction by John Caird.

Photo credit: Houston Grand Opera
Costume design for Laura Nearing 80 years (April 6), Previn, whose varied career has taken him from writing for Hollywood to conducting the major orchestras of the world, is looking forward to this premiere of his second opera. “Brief Encounter is a very gentle piece, compared to A Streetcar Named Desire, which is so wildly dramatic...it's quite a different kettle of fish," Previn explains. With Previn's history of success, we can be confident that this event will be remarkable. As Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times has noted, Previn’s music “does exactly what music should do for opera.”

Previn’s compositional life is truly vibrant. Last March his Harp Concerto was premiered by the Pittsburgh Symphony and in October his symphonic tale, Owls, was premiered by the Boston Symphony. This year Previn (at the keyboard) premieres his own Piano Trio with long-time friends and collaborators, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell at Carnegie Hall on April 22. Not but four days later, on the same august stage, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s premieres Previn’s Concerto for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra, with Anne-Sophie Mutter, again, on the violin and Yuri Bashmet on viola.

Previn is a treasured, humble, and joyful musician whose profound career reflects not only his immense talents, but the depth of his character, his remarkable intelligence, his deep-seated friendships, and ultimately, his keen awareness of and connection to the art of music. As he continues to create more music (there are several works in various stages of completion) we can be sure that what will come will be as remarkable as what he has brought to the world for the past 80 years.

Photo credit: Houston Grand Opera
Model for set of Brief Encounter
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