Have you ever heard an opera about people who could be living right down the street from you? Welcome to Mark Abel’s Home Is a Harbor. In this spellbinding work, he has created characters that belong to OUR world; we recognize them as being like us. An especially poignant part of the story concerns “Lance,” an Afghanistan War vet, who gives voice to feelings many of us have at this time.
I have loved opera all my life, but Mark’s work has given me a unique experience. We are brought directly into the characters’ lives through music that rings true. This is how we think, feel and speak — freely and kaleidoscopically. Mark’s music reflects not only speech pacing and inflection but also emotional tone and impulse, which give his characters dimension.
Perhaps it’s the journalist’s eye and ear that make the difference, and can distill these ingredients into music of an opera or a song cycle. Part of the authenticity of Mark’s work may come from his many years as Foreign Editor of a top newspaper. He is serious and has enormous empathy, and yet keeps his objectivity, too.
While helping to produce this recording, I have listened to Home Is a Harbor countless times. And I must confess that at each hearing there are moments that make me weep, moments that make laugh, and much that I want to share with people I care about.