For baritone, men’s chorus and actor, “For A Look Or A Touch” is a story about the persecution of gay men during the Holocaust. The text is based on the true stories told in the documentary film Paragraph 175 and the journal of Manfred Lewin, from the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
Starring soprano Caitlyn Lynch when it was premiered in Seattle at Benaroya Hall, “Another Sunrise” is based on the true day-to-day fight for survival of the spirited, quick-witted Krystyna Zywulska during the Nazi occupation of Poland. With her mother, Zywulska walked out of the Warsaw ghetto in broad daylight in 1942, and joined the Polish resistance. Captured by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, she wrote satiric poems that became camp anthems of resistance. This was a dangerous notoriety, because she was still trying to hide her Jewish roots from camp informers.
From Martin Bernheimer, The Financial Times: “The climactic finale involved the local premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’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. “
Moby-Dick with music by Jake Heggie and a libretto by Gene Scheer premiered at the Dallas Opera in 2010. The piece was met with great acclaim: “A TRIUMPH” The Dallas Morning News “AN UNDENIABLE SUCCESS” The New York Times “THE HIT OF THE SEASON” The Washington Post “
Based on the unpublished play “Some Christmas Letters: by Terrence McNally, “Three Decembers” was created for Frederica von Stade and the Houston Grand Opera. It was commissioned in association with the San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances.
The songs are based on four transformative friendships and meetings in Francis Poulenc’s life: Wanda Landowska, Pierre Bernac, Raymonde Linossier and Paul Eluard