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Enemies, A Love Story - Press

World premiere opera, February 20, 21 and 22, 2015
Palm Beach Opera

WQXR/Operavore (Fred Plotkin, February 23, 2015)

“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.”

Opera News (Karl W. Hesser)

“Composer Moore, known for beautiful song-settings, devoted his melodic gifts to an immediately accessible score.The words emerge clearly (the projected texts are hardly needed except in ensembles) against a colorful, sensitive orchestration. Each of the three women in Herman's life has a musically distinctive language...The trio at the beginning of act II is particularly impressive, becoming an elegy for Holocaust victims.”

MusicalAmerica.com (John Fleming)

“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… When Herman and Tamara are reunited in Act 1, her aria is both agonizing and beautiful, with long, soaring lines about the deaths of their two children…

The scenes with Herman and Masha are the most powerful, especially the love duet, which ranges from sublime comedy (while she sings an ode to food, what’s on his mind is the philosophical nature of time) to down‐and‐dirty sex on the kitchen table of her Bronx apartment.

Pastin’s performance of “My Love Remembers” was sensational -both pulpy in the style of a verismo aria updated to the 20th century and ravishingly romantic. The aria ultimately veers into the horror of the Holocaust: “We sang it in the camps. It kept our minds off the ovens.” She was like a death‐haunted angel with a number tattooed on her arm…”

The Wall Street Journal (Heidi Waleson)

“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…

Enemies is the first world premiere in Palm Beach Opera’s 54‐year history, and the company, under Artistic Director Daniel Biaggi, did itself proud with this ambitious, $1.2 million staging.”

Edge Media Network (JackGardner)

“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…

“Enemies: A Love Story” has a high likelihood of remaining in the operatic canon for a long time to come…

Premiering new works is always a risky proposition both for the company presenting the work and the audience attending the performances. You never know exactly what you're going to get. In this instance, Palm Beach Opera got an unquestionable hit and the first night audience received a vocally and musically beautiful, emotionally moving performance.”

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