This two-act opera, with a running time of two hours and 15 minutes, is based on the powerful story in the Book of Genesis about the origins of the Jewish and the Arab peoples, and about the intense personal struggle that goes on in the family of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar over the birth of their children Isaac and Ishmael. The Librettist is Charles Kondek.
The first act of the opera was presented in concert form in 2005; a CD recording of that performance, with Elizabeth Shammash, Ilana Davidson, and Robert Gardner in the principal roles, and conducted by Michael Adelson, is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, or by download from oySongs.
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Neither Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, nor even the modern-day composer John Adams thought to do it, yet the age-old story was ripe for the plucking, juicy with drama and conflict, tragedy and a complicated love triangle, the thematic lifeblood of opera. But Gerald Cohen, cantor of Shaarei Tikvah, the Scarsdale Conservative Congregation, did. He is composing an opera based on the story of Sarah and Abraham and Hagar in the Bible’s Book of Genesis, and in doing so, he joins the ranks of American composers contributing to the new opera boom in the United States. The first act of the composer’s opera-in-progress, “Sarah and Hagar.” will be presented in concert form at Shaarei Tikvah on Tuesday, May 24, at 8 p.m.