The End of the Affair (opera)

The End of the Affair
Opera by Jake Heggie
Description chamber opera
Based on The End of the Affair
by Graham Greene
Premiere 2004 (2004)
Houston Grand Opera

The End of the Affair is a chamber opera with music by Jake Heggie and a libretto by Heggie and Leonard Foglia.

Based on the Graham Greene novel of the same title, it is set in London in 1944 and 1946 and focuses on Maurice and Sarah. Maurice vows to end their illicit affair if his life is spared in a bombing. His survival leads to Sarah's religious conversion, and Maurice's railing against God for it. After Sarah returns to her husband, Maurice hires a private detective to investigate her under direction of her husband Henry.

Performance history

It premiered in March 2004 at Houston Grand Opera. The libretto's last ten minutes were revised to alter the ending for performances at Madison Opera and Seattle Opera.

The second version of the opera was recorded live in 2007 at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City with Emily Pulley (soprano) as Sarah Miles, Keith Phares (baritone) as Maurice Bendrix, Joyce Castle (mezzo-soprano) as Mrs. Bertram, Victor Benedetti (baritone) as Henry Miles, Robert Orth (baritone) as private Mr. Parkis, and Gerard Powers (tenor) as Richard Smythe.

Critical reaction

Reaction to the version of the novel was decidedly mixed. "In what is a kind of on-stage musical equivalent of the slow fade into a flashback, he tells the story while bits and pieces are sung by the other characters until we are firmly in the flashback. That was an interesting effect that worked well,"[1] The same reviewer comments: "That is a good message but the response from most was so what. The connection between that and the love of God was not communicated."[1]


RoleVoice typePremiere cast, March 2004
Conductor: Patrick Summers[2]
Sarah MilessopranoCheryl Barker
Maurice Bendrix, Sarah's loverbaritoneTeddy Tahu Rhodes
Henry Miles, Sarah's husbandbaritonePeter Coleman-Wright
Mr. Parkis, a private detectivebaritoneRobert Orth
Richard Smythe, a rationalisttenorJoseph Evans
Mrs. Bertram, Sarah's mothermezzo-sopranoKatherine Ciesinski
Lancelot, young sonspeaking role 


  1. 1 2 Kennedy, Steven A. "FSM review". Film Score Monthly. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  2. About the opera,
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