A New Opera

Music by Eric Sawyer with libretto by Harley Erdman

Based on the Novel by Michel C. White

“The audience was on its feet almost before the curtain could be raised for the curtain calls, raining down ‘bravoes’ on Sunday afternoon’s sold-out performance of the new opera ‘The Garden of Martyrs.’”

“The part of Father Jean Louis de Cheverus…was probingly inhabited and masterfully sung by tenor William Hite.”
Springfield Republican

“While clearly of particular local interest, the story has wider, even international resonance. It is a compelling opera, and the production was outstanding and the performances convincing.”

“Sawyer’s music…subtly draw[s] us into the story. At the outset, confronted with a mob, we feel like observers, but we become more involved and attached to the characters such that by the end we feel we are a part of the mob listening to Cheverus’s funeral oration. We understand the messages of forgiveness and redemption and of the danger of catastrophic events resulting from rushed actions and hidden agendas.”

“One of the striking features of the work is the libretto. It is tight, smooth, unaffected modern speech, much of it prose but in several instances rhyming verse with virtually no artificiality…The language speaks directly to the audience.”
Boston Musical Intelligencer


“Erdman never once loses his characters which is a most wonderful aspect of this sung play. Eyes closed you can tell who is saying something. His terse and terrific libretto is matched in the tonal qualities of Eric Sawyer’s music…[the] music is sweet and strong and sometimes stunning, as in back to the wall-knees weak stunning.”

“Hite is amazing. That’s the only way to describe this role and his work in it. His third act confession aria with Jamy’s interpolations is a show-stopper.”
Berkshire Bright Focus

“[The] tension was made all the more palpable by Sawyer’s score. His music brims with spacious intervals, transparent textures, and agitated rhythms, all of which came alive through the crisp playing of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.”
Boston Classical Review

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