Anya17, an opera which received its US premiere at the Marines' Memorial Theater on Friday evening with a libretto by Ben Kay and music by Adam Gorb, wants to raise awareness about sex trafficking, and the plight of many young Eastern European women held into slavery and forced to prostitute themselves in the UK. Now, this could not happen here, could it? Not in our enlightened city, not now. Oh, wait: two San Francisco sisters arrested on June 10th for running sex trafficking ring. Never mind.

Indeed, Anya17 is very relevant and kudos for Opera Parallele for producing a necessary show on a difficult and uncomfortable topic. However, well meaning has a tendency to turn into awkward, and Anya17 does.

It starts innocently enough, after a preludes that gives away the ending, with Anya in love and waiting for her boyfriend to leave an unnamed country for The West. Anne Noggle delivers a fantastic Anya, with a perfect mix of youthful and innocence, that later turns into a striking despair.