Morning Star

An Opera in Two Acts

Libretto by William F. Hoffman

Published by Theodore Presser Company

Duration: 150 min.

Voices: 4 Soprano, 3 Mezzo-soprano, 3 Tenor, 2 Baritone, 1 Bass-Baritone, 1 Boy (13 yrs. old, 1 spoken roles)

Instrumentation: 2(2 dbl. Picc.) 1(dbl. E.H.) 3(3=B.Cl., dbl. Cl.) – 2 2 2(B.Tbn.) 0; Timp. 2Perc. Pno/Cel. Str. (

Premiere: June 2015; Cincinnati Opera; First Workshop, 2002, Lyric Opera Of Chicago Opera Studio, Chicago, IL; Second Workshop, 2012/2015 Opera Fusion, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music

Commission: Commissioned by the Cincinnati Opera

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The title aria tells us “Morning Star” refers to Venus and is a metaphor for love and hope. Based on Sylvia Regan’s play and on parallels with the composer’s own family, Morning Star is a deeply touching character piece about life among Jewish immigrants in New York City’s Lower East Side. Hope blossoms and is dashed as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, World War I, and the Great Depression lead to death, divorce, and despair. Through it all, William M. Hoffman’s colorful libretto and Ricky Ian Gordon’s engaging score maintain charming threads of love and optimism, comedy amid tragedy, and luscious sonorities featuring a large cast of singers – in English, Yiddish, Italian, and Haitian French. The two-act opera is 2½ hours in duration.

Making Morning Star

A 2015 Documentary

Ricky Ian Gordon and William Hoffman:

Photo of Ricky Ian Gordon & William Hoffman

On Site Opera


Photos by Pavel Antonov

Cincinnati Opera

Premiere Production, 2015

Photos by Philip Groshong & Thomas Hase