Dominick Argento Chamber Opera
Competition finalist

Music & libretto

Elisabeth Mehl Greene

Minimum cast

Soprano x 3
Tenor x 2


Hajar is a modern tale of a Syrian refugee mother and her son trying to reach safety in America inspired by the Jewish and Islamic stories of Hagar/Hajar. The opera confronts the immigration crisis in the United States and worldwide, challenging the acceptance of policies that resist compassion.


Scene I: Syria, 17'

Hajar must decide whether to risk staying in Syria, or to flee the country with her young son Ismail, in the hopes of reuniting with his father Bram in America.

Scene II: Turkey, 15'

Hajar and Ismail are smuggled into Turkey, facing dire conditions in the refugee camp and desperate uncertainties as executive travel bans are enacted.

Scene III: BWI, 20'

At last Hajar and Ismail arrive at BWI, only to be separated and detained. Hajar's dreams of America are shattered as she learns a devastating truth about Bram.

Scene IV: Mexico, 7'

Mexico accepts Hajar and Ismail's request for asylum, and the reunited mother and son discover their new home to be the unexpected providence of God, though vastly different from their former dreams.

or discover more opera
by Elisabeth

Header image: Partha3003, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Hajar photo courtesy Maryland Opera Studio