A GAME OF HEARTS tells the story of three widows from America’s Greatest Generation, who now in their advanced age, deal in their own ways with either staying locked in the past or moving forward with the remainder of their lives. Jean Biernbaum, who’s never married after losing her fiance to World War II enters residence at a nursing home where her sister, Sylvia Biernbaum Alperstein Holtz and her sister’s best friend, Harriet Oshiro, currently reside. All three women chat over a game of cards about their past loves and lives and explore a future, perhaps one that includes the soon to be widower Jerry Rosenberg. Written by a pair of Fulbright winners who met in Poland, the opera in the words of Washington Post music critic Phillip Kennicott “shows both composer and librettist experimenting with perhaps the greatest technical device of opera: the use of music to elaborate simultaneously different emotions,” and builds “to a touching set of verses that (has) the romantic, French-inflected power of an art song by Gabriel Faure or Cesar Franck.”
One of the inaugural commissions for the Washington National Opera / Kennedy Center’s American Opera Initiative, A GAME OF HEARTS will also be featured in New York City in January 2014 as part of Opera America’s New Works Forum.