Photo Artwork by: Richard Sapienza
No Balm in Gilead

a chamber opera

Libretto by
Daniel Hartis

Program Note
provided by Andrew Wentzel, professor of voice, University of Tennessee


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Libretto © 2012 by Daniel Hartis, all right reserved

In Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poem, "The Raven," the narrator laments the loss of his beloved Lenore and begs the question: "Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician here?" These are undoubtedly questions that plagued Poe himself throughout his life, most notably following the deaths of his mother, foster mother and wife.

"No Balm in Gilead" imagines Edgar Allan Poe's last night in a Baltimore bar where, drinking absinthe and barely lucid, he imagines that the barmaid is his wife Virginia, who died of tuberculosis only two years earlier. Two other women appear, who introduce themselves as Lenore and Annabel Lee, figures from his poems who accuse him of depriving them of life and love, but creating them only to have them die. Tormented between tragic reality and fierce illusion, Poe staggers out into the night.

Daniel Hartis is as apt to write a screenplay about zombies or a libretto about Edgar Allan Poe as he is to write about the craft beer industry. His first book, "Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City," was published in 2013; his second, "Beer Lover's The Carolinas," hit shelves in April 2014.