Three Decembers
Composer: Jake Heggie
Composer Bio: Jake Heggie is the American composer of the operas Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking, Three Decembers, The End of the Affair, To Hell and Back, and the stage works For a Look or a Touch, and At the Statue of Venus. He has also composed more than 200 art songs, as well as orchestral, choral and chamber music. Upcoming projects include Camille Claudel: Into the Fire a dramatic scene for Joyce DiDonato and the Alexander String Quartet commissioned by San Francisco Performances; Another Sunrise, a new stage work for soprano Caitlin Lynch, commissioned by Seattle’s Music of Remembrance; songs for baritone Rod Gilfry and a new work for pianist Jon Kimura Parker and violinist Aloysia Friedmann. Heggie was the 2010/11 guest artist-in-residence at the University of North Texas at Denton. Part of that residency included the commission of his first symphony, which will receive its premiere in 2013 with tenor Richard Croft as soloist. An ardent champion of writers, most of Heggie’s operas and stage works feature libretti written by either Terrence McNally or Gene Scheer. Heggie was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has been composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Opera, Eos Orchestra, and Vail Valley Music Festival. As a coach and teacher, he gives classes at universities throughout the United States and at summer festivals such as SongFest in Malibu and the Stearns Institute at Ravinia. Jake Heggie lives in San Francisco.
Librettist: Gene Scheer
Librettist Bio: Mr. Scheer’s work is noted for its scope and versatility. With the composer Jake Heggie he has collaborated on a number of different projects, including the critically acclaimed 2010 Dallas Opera world premiere, Moby-Dick, starring Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab; Three Decembers (Houston Grand Opera), which starred Frederica von Stade; and the lyric drama To Hell and Back (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra), which featured Patti LuPone. Other works by Scheer and Heggie include Camille Claudel: Into the fire, a song cycle premiered by Joyce di Donato and the Alexander String Quartet. Mr. Scheer worked as librettist with Tobias Picker on An American Tragedy, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005. Their first opera, Thérèse Raquin, written for the Dallas Opera in 2001, was cited by Opera News as one of the ten best recordings of 2002. Other recent collaborations include the lyrics for Wynton Marsalis’s It Never Goes Away, featured in Mr. Marsalis’s work Congo Square. With the composer Steven Stucky, Mr. Scheer wrote the oratorio August 4, 1964. The work, recently nominated for a Grammy, was premiered by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2008 and last season was performed by the orchestra, with Japp von Sweeden conducting, at Carnegie Hall. Also a composer in his own right, Mr. Scheer has written a number of songs for singers such as Renée Fleming, Sylvia McNair, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves, and Nathan Gunn. The distinguished documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, prominently featured Mr. Scheer’s song “American Anthem” (as sung by Norah Jones) in his Emmy Award-winning World War II documentary for PBS entitled The War.
Other Artistic Personnel: Patrick Summers (Conductor)
Original Cast: Keith Phares (Charlie)
Kristin Clayton (Beatrice)
Frederica von Stade (Madeline)
Premiere Date: February 29, 2008
Producing Company: Houston Grand Opera
Description: The two adult children of a famous actress, Madeline Mitchell, have not come to terms with their mother’s absorption with her career and her resultant neglect of them. Their father, an actor, died in an accident when they were very small, and Madeline (Maddy) rationalizes that as a single mother and breadwinner it was necessary to put her career first. Maddy’s daughter Beatrice and son Charlie are dealing with enormous problems: Bea is unhappily married and seeks comfort from alcohol, while Charlie is about to lose his partner to AIDS. When Madeline is nominated for a Tony, she invites Charlie and Bea to attend the awards ceremony. She and Bea plan to meet at her apartment beforehand to get dressed, but Maddy doesn’t show up on time. Once again let down by her mother, Bea drinks. When Maddy finally arrives and sees the state Bea is in, she compares her to her father, setting off a chain reaction of recrimination, revelation, and, at long last, resolution.
Character List (Major): Bea Mitchell (s)
Madeline Mitchell (mz)
Charlie Mitchell (bar)
Comments: Formerly entitled Last Acts.
Video Clip:
Length: Length is not available.
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: No chorus
Contact: Bill Holab Music
Composer Web Site:
Librettist Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Friday, May 29, 2015 - Atlanta Opera
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Saturday, September 27, 2014 - UrbanArias
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Sunday, May 13, 2012 - Fort Worth Opera
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Saturday, July 10, 2010 - Central City Opera
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Saturday, May 8, 2010 - Chicago Opera Theater
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Thursday, December 11, 2008 - Cal Performances
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Thursday, December 11, 2008 - San Francisco Opera
Three Decembers (Heggie)
Friday, February 29, 2008 - Houston Grand Opera
Three Decembers (Heggie)
- Cal Performances
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

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