Upon first listen, the audience frequently comes away from Lizzie Borden with the impression that it is a second rate modernist, atonal, dodecaphonic whatever nonesense garbage. However, upon a closer listening, Lizzie Borden is actually quite a lyrical opera. For example, Abbie's bird song has a sort of late-romantic beauty to it, as does Margaret's Garden aria. Yes, there is a building sense of psychotic hypnotism in the music as the opera progresses, finally culminating in the jagged pestering of the step mother who rains down hell on Lizzie's dreams of male companionship, then leading to the step mother's murder. Beeson's crafting of this scene is incredible; music in this opera is beautiful, yes, but he can really pull through in loosening the audience member from his seat, unable to sit comfortably.
While the cast is excellent, the recording quality of this opera can stand an improvement.
Give this opera a try, and then several more tries. Let it grow on you, both the lyrical and nerve-wracking scenes.