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Gene was interviewed by Michael Slade for a feature article in Opera News (July 2014, Vol. 79, No. 1). "What makes a successful libretto? The key is its ability to immediately and continually engage the audience; to be succinct while simultaneously creating a layered story and complex characters..."
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
San Francisco Opera Co-Commission
Music by Jake Heggie
No one is a failure who has friends.
Meet Clara, a second-tier angel desperate to earn her wings by doing good deeds, and the man she chooses to save: George Bailey, a down-and-out businessman ready to leave this world behind. Based on Frank Capra’s beloved film, this timeless story of second chances debuts just in time for the holiday season. Come witness the magic as Clara sets out to change George’s life in this high-flying spectacle.
BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION
“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Jennifer Higdon, composer; Gene Scheer, librettist (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jay Hunter Morris, Emily Fons, Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn and the Santa Fe Opera)
BEST OPERA RECORDING
“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Emily Fons, Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard and Jay Hunter Morris; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers)
FROM THE NY TIMES: The life of the French sculptor Camille Claudel is a tangle of art, passion, madness and betrayal. A student and lover of Rodin’s, Claudel was a critically acclaimed artist when she began to show signs of mental distress, which led her family to commit her to an institution, where she spent the remaining 30 years of her life. On Thursday at Zankel Hall, the incandescent mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato presented the New York premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Camille Claudel: Into the Fire.” Set for voice and string quartet, the work compresses a tragic life of operatic dimensions into a song cycle of great beauty and emotional resonance. Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times
FROM THE FINANCIAL TIMES:The climactic finale involved the local premiere of Jake Heggie’s Camille Claudel: Into the Fire (2011), an extensive ode to the agonised sculptor — Rodin’s lover — who died in 1943. Ever popular, obviously facile and increasingly daring, Heggie dealt sensitively with the introspective sentiments at hand. He juggled acerbic lyricism craftily with oppressive drama, adorning Gene Scheer’s text with florid wails and eerie melismas at jolting intervals. In the process, he made the primitive lamentations propulsive, the otherworldly illusions, delusions and allusions gripping. DiDonato sang the expansive solos with rare conviction and lustrous, subtly shaded tone.Martin Bernheimer, The Financial Times
November 6, 2016, 7:30 pm
Based in part on the timeless film It’s a Wonderful Life
* (1946) and Philip Van Doren Stern’s short story The Greatest Gift
(1943), composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s opera is a holiday classic suitable for the whole family. Prior to its world premiere, artistic and music director Patrick Summers moderates a discussion with Heggie and Scheer. Excerpts are performed.
$40, $35 members and Friends of Works & Process.