Nicholas Maw (1935 - 2009) was an English composer of music deceptively "traditional". Though he was considered a melodist, firmly rooted in tonality, he used those elements more as a starting point, that as an absolute reference. In some important works, like his symphony Odyssey, there is certainly an attractive and varied musical language.
His first opera, The Rising of the Moon, was premiered in the 1970s, but his most popular piece is Sophie's Choice, based on the well known novel by William Styron, also adapted for the screen. After several years of hard work, it was offered at the Covent Garden, in 2002, with good singers like Angelika Kirchschlager, Gordon Gietz and Rodney Gilfry, and it was staged also in cities like Vienna, Berlin or Washington.
The reviews were mostly favourable, for the opera itself, and for the good work of the singers and the stage director. However, in my opinion, to be a really fine opera, we need to go beyond some nice melodies and cut the excessive duration.
Sophie's Choice - Beginning