Moby-Dick is a triumph! ... a total and memorable experience. What an exciting city and time we live in that gives rise to an international collaboration that produces a modern masterpiece such as Moby-Dick.
... an astounding journey. The Great American Novel has become a grand new opera.
The seamless combination of projections, the physical set and live action is astounding, seeming to blend opera with theatre, circus, cinema and visual art into a multimedia extravaganza. It has to be seen to be believed.
Like earlier works by Heggie, such as Dead Man Walking, the music here is tuneful and expressive, with his usual affinity for the human voice. But the composer’s complex uncompromising language gives the score backbone and never allows it to sink into sentimentalism.
Three Decembers is a modern masterpiece, and it documents the unusually intense collaboration between Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, his partner also in Moby-Dick. It is a triumph for Central City… …Heggie’s voice remains his own – closer here to Broadway than the Met. That, however, is of little concern. It is music that speaks to the heart; it provokes feeling and demands emotional reaction. He is clearly America’s No. 1 opera composer.
When it opened on April 30, Moby-Dick turned out to be the hit of the season. The audience screamed approval, and performances promptly sold out... ...Moby-Dick is about as popular as a new opera can get. Not only was it a box-office success, but before it even opened, Heggie's name also had attracted four co-producers...Therefore, this successful production will be seen again...
Three Decembers may be closer in letter and spirit to a musical comedy than it is to opera, but what of that? It’s sharp and witty and poignant, and it gave Chicago Opera Theater an engaging crowd-pleaser with which to wrap up its spring season… Heggie has provided smart, simple, accessible music to flesh out he characters’ tangled emotions, with long stretches of instrumentally-driven parlando giving way to tender lyrical episodes. The score reminds you how achingly expressive a simple song can be. Heggie loves the singing voice and he writes beautifully for singers, which is more than can be said, alas, for many contemporary composers.
It is so lovely to come across a new, vibrant modern chamber opera that both enchants and soothes. So is the case with Jake Heggie’s Chicago premiere of Three Decembers…the finest modern opera I’ve seen. Who said that no one is writing enchantingly wonderful new operas? See Jake Heggie’s marvelous new work, it’ll dazzle you. The opening night audience gave Three Decembers a roaring standing ovation. It sure deserved it. Add Three Decembers to your list of “must see” operas.
…the opera provides a vastly rewarding evening of music drama and aptly demonstrates a raison d’etre for Heggie’s viability as an opera composer: his music is primarily character-driven. Time and again, we are aurally reminded of someone’s affective experience… Heggie’s people move us because they have musical souls.
Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer have created a first-rate modern American work that proves that the new American opera is alive and well…