Page 26

Opera.2:Layout 1


12:12 PM

Page 24

Right now, the opera world has its eyes on Palm Beach County and a brand new opera about a Holocaust survivor in love with three women at the same time. Our area’s foremost opera company, Palm Beach Opera, is bravely going where no opera company has ever gone before – literally. They’re producing the world premiere of Enemies, A Love Story, based off the book by Nobel Prize-winning Yiddish author Isaac Bashevis Singer. The book was also adapted into an Oscarnominated movie in 1989. Even before its world premiere, Palm Beach Opera’s performance of Enemies, A Love Story is causing a stir in the opera world. Famed opera expert Fred Plotkin calls the new opera “one of the most eagerly anticipated premieres of the season” and lists it as one of the world’s “performances not to miss” in 2015 (ranking it among the likes of London, Venice and Dresden’s opera seasons). So why all this buzz? One, it’s a world premiere. Two, the opera is in English. And three, it’s one of the only known operas to take on Jewish themes. “In the operatic repertoire, there are only a few works which feature a distinctly Jewish experience,” said Daniel Biaggi, executive director of Palm Beach Opera. “Enemies, A Love Story is unique in its way of combining the tragic side of Holocaust legacy with farcical yet romantic elements, all set to melodious music to create a moving theatrical experience.” Enemies, A Love Story tells the tale of Herman Broder, a Jewish man who by 1948 has moved to N ew York City after surviving the Holocaust. He finds himself juggling a complex network of love interests, including his second wife, his mistress and his first wife – who was presumed dead. The story examines the immigrant experience with irony, humor and determination. “It’s a human story, and the story is unmistakable. It’s compelling and one can identify with all the characters,” says Nahma Sandrow, librettist for the opera and a Yiddish scholar. Sandrow worked to create Enemies, A Love Story with American composer Ben Moore, whose music has been praised by The New York Times as “brilliant” and “gorgeously lyrical.”


belong |

Moore’s first opera is Enemies, A Love Story, which he calls “a very relevant opera for our times.” “When you’ve gone through a traumatic event, how do you put the pieces back together? Coping with humor is one way,” says Moore. “Also, the gift of music: if you can tell a story through music, then you can really process it. Music is a way of psychologically processing difficult situations.” Palm Beach Opera sees the upcoming production as more than just a performance – they see it as a chance to bring the community together and create meaningful dialogue between groups of different faiths. They formed a community partnership with Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, organizing a broad spectrum of community programs to teach and discuss the Holocaust: these include a lunch and learn with Holocaust experts and a screening of the film Enemies, A Love Story at the Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival. It’s also been important to the opera company to maintain a Jewish element to the production and performance itself. Moore and Sandrow are Jewish, as well as director Sam Helfrich, conductor David Stern (son of legendary conductor and violinist Isaac Stern) and Daniel Okulitch, who will sing the lead role of Herman Broder. For now, the opera world eagerly awaits what could be the next classic opera – sung in English, premiered in Palm Beach County and taking on themes that connect the Jewish community. Enemies, A Love Story will make its world premiere at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on February 20-22, 2015. People who make gifts to Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County’s 2015 Annual Campaign receive a generous discount on tickets. To purchase tickets or for more information on Palm Beach Opera’s 2014-2015 season, visit or call the Palm Beach Opera box office at 561-833-7888. b

belong magazine Winter 2015  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you