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A View From The Bridge

Opera in two acts

Music by William Bolcom
Libretto by Arnold Weinstein and Arthur Miller
after the play by Arthur Miller
About A View From The Bridge

Bolcom's second opera for Lyric Opera of Chicago, A View from the Bridge is a very faithful adaptation of Miller's play. In addition to material from an early verse version of the play, Miller wrote some new lyrics for the opera. A few additional arias were added for the "second edition," which was performed at the Met during the 2002-2003 season; these do not appear on the recording but were heard on the Met broadcast of December 28, 2002.

Cast of Characters
Alfieri, a lawyer, bar One Man, bar
Eddie, a dock worker, bar Louis, a dock worker, friend of Eddie, b
Mike, a dock worker, friend of Eddie, high voice Catherine, Eddie's niece, s
Beatrice, Eddie's wife, s A woman, high voice
Tony, a dock worker, t Rodolpho, a "submarine", t
Marco, Rodolpho's brother, b-bar Old Woman, c
First Officer, bar Second Officer, t
Chorus of neighborhood people


In Red Hook, Brooklyn, in the 1950's, the lawyer Alfieri leads a chorus of neighborhood people in telling the story of dockworker Eddie Carbone.

Eddie has arranged for two of his wife Beatrice's cousins from Italy to come to America illegally, as "submarines", and work on the docks. Beatrice's niece Catherine lives with them; Eddie is overprotective, complaining about her clothes, and only reluctantly agrees to let her take a job as a stenographer.

The submarines arrive, Marco and Rodolpho. Marco has a wife and children in Italy, but Rodolpho is single, attractive, and "practically blond"; Catherine is immediately attracted to him. Rodolpho tells of his plans to return to Italy with enough money to buy a motorcycle to deliver messages on, and explains that he once got a job singing in a restaurant. When he starts to sing, Eddie warns him to keep a low profile, but Catherine is clearly impressed.

As the weeks pass, Catherine and Rodolpho are spending more time together, and Eddie complains to Beatrice that Rodolpho only wants to marry her so he can be a citizen. But Beatrice has a different problem; Eddie has been neglecting her for months. Eddie confronts Catherine when she gets home, but Beatrice comforts her, warning her that Eddie's attitude may be jealousy.

Eddie goes to Alfieri to see if the law can help him stop the marriage, claiming that he thinks Rodolpho is gay. But Alfieri warns Eddie that he has to let Catherine go, telling him that the only way to stop the wedding would be to report Rodolpho to Immigration, which the neighborhood would see as a betrayal.

Instead, Eddie taunts Rodolpho with his effeminate ways, and under the pretense of teaching him to box, knocks him down. Marco, annoyed with Eddie, challenges him to a contest of strength and wins, as Rodolpho dances with Catherine.


While Beatrice is Christmas shopping and Eddie and Marco are at work, Catherine and Rodolpho are left alone in the apartment. Rodolpho reassures her that he loves her, but refuses to return to Italy with her to starve. He tells her she has to leave Eddie's house.

When Eddie returns, drunk, and sees the two of them coming out of the bedroom, he tries to throw Rodolpho out. When Catherine tries to stop him, he grabs her and kisses her passionately; when Rodolpho intervenes, Eddie kisses him as well, claiming that "he likes it."

Later, Eddie tells the lawyer that he's sure now that Rodolpho is gay. Alfieri warns Eddie of what will happen if he turns the submarines in to Immigration, but he still makes the phone call. When he learns that two more submarines have arrived, he tries to get them all out, but Immigration arrives before any of them can escape. As he is taken away, Marco spits in Eddie's face, accusing him in front of the crowd. Eddie claims to be innocent, but his neighbors turn away and refuse to speak to him.

In prison, Marco is angry that the law has no punishment for Eddie, who is sending him back to poverty and dooming his children to die of hunger.

Beatrice tries to convince Eddie to come to Catherine and Rodolpho's wedding, but he refuses, until Marco apologizes for accusing him. Rodolpho tells Eddie that Marco is out of prison and looking for Eddie, but Eddie refuses to leave. Beatrice tries to tell Eddie that what he wants is not Marco's apology but Catherine, but it is too late; Marco has arrived. The two men fight, and when Eddie pulls a knife, Marco forces it back into Eddie's chest. As he dies in Beatrice's arms, Alfieri and the chorus reflect on the uselessness and inevitability of Eddie's downfall.

Performance History
World premiere production
Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
October 9, 1999
Eddie: Kim Josephson
Beatrice: Catherine Malfitano
Catherine: Julianna Rambaldi
Rodolpho: Gregory Turay
Alfieri: Timothy Nolen
Marco: Mark McCrory
Louis: Dale Travis
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
Frank Galati, stage director
New York premiere
Metropolitan Opera, New York, New York
December 5, 2002
(also Dec. 9, 12, 16, 21, 24m, 28m)
Eddie: Kim Josephson
Beatrice: Catherine Malfitano
Catherine: Isabel Bayrakdarian
Rodolpho: Gregory Turay
Alfieri: John Del Carlo
Marco: Richard Bernstein
Louis: Dale Travis
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
Frank Galati, stage director
Discography Search for recordings of A View From The Bridge at Amazon.com

William Bolcom

A View From The Bridge

Lyric Opera of Chicago

2 CD / New World 80588 (2001)

Bibliography Search for book about A View From The Bridge at Amazon.com

Arthur Miller

A View From the Bridge (original play)

Dramatists Play Service 1955

William Bolcom: New York Lights from A View from the Bridge


G. Schirmer American Opera Anthology: Tenor

G. Schirmer 2004

William Bolcom: "But you do not know this man" from A View from the Bridge


G. Schirmer American Opera Anthology: Soprano

G. Schirmer 2004

Last update: January 1, 2009