Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ellington's opera, lost and found

At NPR Music, Priska Neely explores what might have been – and still may become – the great American “street opera,” Duke Ellington’s “Queenie Pie.”

This jazz opera, first conceived in the 1930s and almost brought to fruition 30 years later, was left unfinished when Ellington died in 1974. A version by Marc Bolin, currently being staged at California’s Long Beach Opera and also being used for a production opening on Feb. 15 at Chicago Opera Theater, is the latest in a succession of “completions” crafted from surviving material: