Pardon our belated report, but we wanted to let you know that distinguished composer Ben Moore – whose stunning art songs appeared last year in the Delos release, Dear Theo (DE 3437) – has made quite an impression with his first opera, Enemies, A Love Story.
Blessed with a highly impressive staging at the Palm Beach Opera from February 20-22, these performances (the company’s first world premiere in its 54-year history) had critics singing the work’s praises in no uncertain terms. Described as a “light-hearted dark comedy,” the opera is based on Nobel prizewinning novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer’s poignant, yet often comedic tale – in which the “hero,” Holocaust survivor Herman, gets caught in the middle as his three wives discover each other in post-WW II New York City. Read on, and see what the critical fuss is all about!
“The news is that a resurgent opera company has produced an important new work that will find its place among those works that audiences will be moved by.…The libretto, by Nahma Sandrow, is one of the most effective texts I have encountered in a long time and it has been set to music by the excellent Ben Moore. The score is melodic and atmospheric while at the same time being emotional and specific in depicting all of [the] nuanced turns in the plot.…I am convinced that this production, with its sets perfectly geared to play in other theaters, may find itself staged at numerous opera companies in America and abroad.” —Fred Plotkin, WQXR/Operavore
“This is the first opera by Moore, an American best known for his art songs, which have been performed and recorded by the likes of Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, and Susan Graham. His penchant for melody serves him well.…” —John Fleming, MusicalAmerica
“Set to a deft libretto by Nahma Sandrow, Mr. Moore’s music is unabashedly tonal and accessible. Hints of operetta, American musicals and a little Leonard Bernstein coexist with soaring Puccinian lines, folk tunes and klezmer melodies. He writes idiomatically and lyrically for voice, and each of the women is acutely characterized and impeccably performed.…” —Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal
“Moore has crafted a beautiful piece. His music is sweeping with lush melodies and complex harmonies that are never jarring and always underscore the emotion of the piece.…”Tamara’s Aria” in Act One.… is a piece that is likely to become a permanent part in the dramatic soprano/mezzo-soprano repertory alongside the “To This We’ve Come” from Menotti’s “The Consul” and “La Mamma Morta” from Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier.” In some ways, this aria is so perfect and dramatically moving that, much like the aforementioned Menotti aria, it almost overwhelms the rest of the opera. The next major aria in the opera is “Yadwiga’s Aria” which is another brilliant piece of writing although, this time, for a more lyrical soprano voice. Moore knows how to write beautifully for the female voice.…” —Jack Gardner, Edge Media Network