“Enemies, a Love Story”
A new opera based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel of the same name. It tells the story of Herman Broder, a Polish Jew and survivor of Nazi persecution, living in New York in 1949. It is both a farcical, romantic comedy of a man juggling three women, and a dark story chronicling the legacy of the Holocaust. Singer's novel was made into a successful feature film in 1989, directed by Paul Mazursky. “Enemies” (the opera) received an Opera America development grant in 2011 and has been developed at Kentucky Opera.
A setting of selected passages from the letters of Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo for SATB chorus. The work weaves together major emotional themes of the 18-year correspondence. This material was also developed into a song cycle for tenor voice.
“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”
A choral arrangement of the song originally written for tenor voice and piano. Set to W.B. Yeats’ celebrated poem.
“The House on Kronenstrasse”
A multi-media piece for piano, viola, clarinet and an actress created in collaboration with the author Shira Nayman. The piece consists of short movements interspersed and at times underscoring text from the first story in Nayman’s collection entitled “Awake in the Dark.” Dealing with the legacy of the Holocaust, the text and music trace the emotional journey of a woman who returns to Germany in search of her past.
“Ode to a Nightingale”
Eight songs for baritone voice and piano set to the eight stanzas of John Keats’ timeless poem. The work was commissioned by Bruce and Suzie Kovner in 2010.
- My heart aches
- O, for a draught
- Fade far away
- Away, away!
- I cannot see what flowers
- Darkling I listen
- Thou wast not born for death
“So Free Am I”
Seven songs for high soprano set to the text of women writers. Commissioned by the Marilyn Horne Foundation, the work explores the struggles of women through the ages.
- Mutta (text: anonymous songs of Buddhist nuns)
- Interlude (text: Amy Lowell)
- Orinda Upon Little Hector Philips (text: Katherine Philips - excerpt)
- Nervous Prostration (text: Anna Wickham)
- Social Note (text: Dorothy Parker)
- The Poem as Mask - Orpheus (text: Muriel Rukeyser)
- Mettika (text: anonymous songs of Buddhist nuns - excerpt)
Related to the choral work of the same name, this cycle of seven songs for tenor and piano is based on the first English translation of letters written by Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo. As noted in the preface to the printed music, certain passages have been modified in order to allow for a more regular musical structure. In each instance an effort has been made to maintain the spirit and intention of van Gogh’s original words.
- The Red Vineyard
- I Found a Woman
- Little One
- The Man I Have to Paint
- When I’m at Work
- Already Broken
- Hold On (based on a speech by Joel Burns)
- Uncle Ronnie (based on text by Randy Roberts Potts)
- Love Remained (set to poem by Michael Kelly)
- Hope (based on “Hope Speech” of Harvey Milk)
Musical theatre pieces
“Henry and Company”
Music and lyrics by Ben Moore
Book and additional lyrics by Barry Kleinbort.
Developed for tenor Jerry Hadley, Henry and Company is an intimate 4-character musical about a man returning to the small town of his youth. Presented at the Appalachian Summer Music Festival in 2002, it explores the unspoken ties of love and friendship that tightly bind together four people over a twenty-five year period.
“Bye Bye Broadway”
Music by Ben Moore
Book and lyrics by Carl Ritchie.
This show is a farcical, fast-paced, backstage comedy with five characters. Set in 1938, it tells the story of a small but dauntless theatre troupe about to open a musical based on Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca - until they are scooped by another Rebecca production. They switch shows, only to have another production beat them to opening night. They have to switch again. And again. The musical was commissioned by the Drayton Festival Theatre in Canada, an Equity 400-seat theater. It played to sold-out houses and rave reviews for fifty performances in the summer of 1999. Stratford’s Beacon Herald called the piece “the most refreshing bit of entertainment this observer has seen in a very long time.”
“The Bone Chandelier”
Music by Ben Moore
Book by Ellen Kushner
Lyrics by Ben Moore and Ellen Kushner; Dramaturgs: Sara Berg and Delia Sherman.
The Bone Chandelier received its first reading at the Broadway Theatre Institute in New York on May 12, 2003. The show is in the ‘fantasy’ genre in the tradition of Tolkien and ‘Harry Potter’ but with many modern and subversive overtones. Ellen Kushner is one of the country’s leading authors of fantasy novels (Swordspoint and The Fall of the Kings) and brings her limitless imagination to this piece.
Selected cabaret and theater songs
(Lyrics are by Ben Moore unless otherwise noted)
A Moment Like This (or “Song for Our Wedding”)
Look at You
The Happiest Couple
One Christmas Morning
Where Has Summer Gone?
Good-bye Old Centerville
A Fool to Want You
Such a Strange World
With You in My Life
Things’ll Work Out Fine
The Time of My Life
This Is Not My Day
Let the World Wait
What Can I Tell You?
Same Old Smile (lyric Barry Kleinbort)
Home For Christmas
We Can’t Go On Like This
Selected Classical Songs
A Time to Begin (based on a letter of Giuseppe Verdi)
- The End (text Wilfred Owen)
- In the Dark Pinewood (text James Joyce)
- The Lake Isle of Innisfree (text W.B. Yeats)
- I Am in Need of Music (text Elizabeth Bishop)
- When I Was One-and-Twenty (text A.E. Housman)
- To the Virgins to Make Much of Time (text Robert Herrick)
- Darkling I Listen (text John Keats)
- Bright Cap and Streamers (text James Joyce)
- I Would in that Sweet Bosom Be (text James Joyce)
- The Ivy-wife (text Thomas Hardy)
- The Lover Pleads with His Friend for Old Friends (text W. B. Yeats)
- Annie Laurie (text William Douglas)
- This Heart That Flutters (text James Joyce)
- The Cloak, the Boat and the Shoes (text W.B. Yeats)
- On Music (text Ben Moore)
- Simples (text James Joyce)
- Ah, Happy Happy Boughs (text John Keats)
- Where Are the Songs of Spring (text John Keats)
- Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop (text W.B. Yeats)
- When You Are Old (text W.B. Yeats)
- Hope Is the Thing With Feathers (text Emily Dickinson)
- Requiem (text R.L. Stevenson)
- Lullaby (text Christina Rossetti)
- Wagner Roles
- Sexy Lady
- I’m Glad I’m Not a Tenor
- Content To Be Behind Me
- We Love the Opera
- Song for Montserrat
- We’re Very Concerned
- The Audience Song
- You Are Not a Diva
- I Love Teaching Voice