This week, Jared Bowen takes us through the best new opera and theater in Boston, and reviews the film "Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross."

"The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare," presented by the Boston Lyric Opera in The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts through Nov. 12

The cast of "The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare."
Liza Voll, courtesy of the Boston Lyric Opera

At the Cylorama, an original opera reimagines the real-life grisly killing spree of William Burke and William Hare in 19th century Edinburgh, Scotland.

When the city’s anatomy school faces a shortage of cadavers, Burke and Hare form a lucrative career selling corpses to the school. All the while, its administration turns a blind eye. With music by Julian Grant and libretto by Mark Campbell, “Burke & Hare” tells the tale from the point of view of the victims who, for the most part, were the disenfranchised. It brings a poignancy to an otherwise sinister tale of ethical depravity.

“It's all about the line that really shouldn't be crossed, and it gets crossed,” said Grant. “There's this whole balance of can you go on a killing spree and bump off all these dispensable people, and is it alright if it is actually for the greater good, for medical research?”

 “In short, striking order," Jared said, "'Burke and Hare' peels back the layers of moral ambiguity with surgical precision.”

"Souvenir," presented by Lyric Stage Company through Nov. 19

Will McGarrahan and Leigh Barrett star in "Souvenir."
Mark S. Howard, courtesy of the Lyric Stage Company

After more than a decade, Leigh Barrett and Will McGarrahan return to the Lyric Stage for an encore of "Souvenir." Based on the story of arts patron and singer Florence Foster Jenkins, the play chronicles Jenkins’ "majestically awful" singing through the eyes of her loyal accompanist Cosmé McMoon.

“Cosmé says in the show that nobody liked rehearsing as much as she did,” said Barrett of Jenkins. “She was most alive when they were rehearsing. I don't think I've ever heard of anybody or met anybody that loved music as much as she does.”

A humorous, wonderfully directed story with a lot of heart, "Souvenir” provides an insightful commentary on “the purity of art,” as Jared puts it. “It’s quite poignant when it’s not also being incredibly funny," he said.

"Kiss," presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Paramount Center through Nov. 19

(Left to right) Ashley Dixon, DeeDee Elbieh, Brandon Beach, Derek Brian Demkowicz and Lauren Hewer round out the cast of "Kiss."
Hillarie Jason, courtesy of ArtsEmerson

An original "play within a play" from Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderon is being presented by ArtsEmerson. “Kiss” follows a young theater group as they stage a Syrian soap opera, but their intentions come into question as the troupe slowly realizes the drama they are performing is not what they thought it was.

A commentary on our fundamental lack of understanding of the culture and conflict in the Middle East, Jared describes “Kiss” as “an interesting concept that makes us understand what we don’t know, but it doesn’t necessarily illuminate what we’ve missed.”

"Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross," screening on Nov. 10 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline as part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival

Steve Ross shows his concentration camp tattoo to a group of students.
Tony Bennis, courtesy of Many Hats Productions

Presented as part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival, “Etched in Glass” is a documentary about Steve Ross, who, as a child, endured five horror-filled years of life in 10 concentration camps before being rescued by an American soldier. After becoming an American citizen, Ross dedicated his life to social work and speaking out about the horrors of the Holocaust, ultimately becoming the driving force behind the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston.

What films are you looking forward to seeing at the Boston Jewish Film Festival? Tell Jared about it on  Facebook or  Twitter!