Shortly after Blitzstein died unexpectedly in 1964, his friend Leonard Bernstein declared that he would restore Regina to Blitzstein’s original conception. By that time, the show had changed several times: first during the process of preparation for its Broadway premiere in 1949, when the prologue was removed and three acts were compressed into two. The New York City Opera produced Regina twice during the 1950s making significant changes both times. The second production (1958) was recorded; the recorded version excised the onstage jazz band, known as the Angel Band, along with the usual cutting and rearranging that accompanies any new production. As such, three productions resulted in three versions, none of which corresponded to the work as first planned and composed, and the recorded version with many departures from the composer’s original conception.
Bernstein was a busy man, of course, and he never undertook the restoration project, but he did put one of his protegés, conductor John Mauceri, to work on it. Mauceri in turn recruited one of his pupils, Tommy Krasker, to assist. Mauceri and Krasker went back to the original manuscripts and got to work, under Bernstein’s supervision. Over the course of several years, they completed a new version of Regina, first performed by Scottish Opera under Mauceri’s direction in June 1991, within a year of Bernstein’s death. The Scottish Opera version is now one of two available for licensing and performance.
Performance materials available on rental from European American Music.