I was very excited to talk to Composer Jake Heggie and Walnut Creek’s Festival Opera’s Zachary Gordin on the occasion of their unique and interesting collaboration bringing some beautiful songs and song cycles to the stage in fully staged versions as an operatic triptych. Heggie’s music is so lyrical and intimately accessible that it must make for a brilliant night in the theater. Soprano Carrie Hennessey and Mezzo-Soprano Diana Tash fill out the cast in the first two acts and Zachary Gordin himself in the final act. Beloved works of Heggies, words written by his closest colleagues, the late Terrence McNally and Gene Scheer. A once in a lifetime special opera event at the Lesher Center for the Performing Arts, directed by Mark Foehringer with Bryan Nies conducting the Festival Opera Orchestra. So be present on August 13th, at 7:30 pm or August 15th, 2:30 pm for this very special experience!
Jake Heggie’s Triptych
at Festival Opera, Walnut Creek, CA
FESTIVAL OPERA: https://www.festivalopera.org/
Carrie Hennessey as Rose
Diana Tash as Camille
Curt Branom as Gad
Zachary Gordin as Manfred
with Jake Heggie, composer, and pianist
Mark Foehringer, Director
Bryan Nies, Conductor with members of the Festival Opera Orchestra
At the Statue of Venus
Libretto: Terrence McNally | Rose: Carrie Hennessey I Jake Heggie, piano
Rose, who is newly navigating the dating sphere, anxiously awaits her blind date. They have agreed to meet in a museum near the statue of Venus. While she waits, her thoughts and emotions are a jumble of hope, uncertainty, and self-doubt. She is self-conscious about her clothes, unsure of how she’ll make this first impression. She compares herself to other women she sees around her in the museum. Will he like her? Will she like him? Why did she – a proudly successful modern woman – allow her friends to convince her that they had found a Mr. Right for her? She muses hopefully, “Will I know him? Of course, I will. He’ll be a man I can laugh with and be myself with. He’ll be handsome which only means, when I look at him, my heart will swell. That’s all handsome is: happiness…” Will Mr. Right appear?
Camille Claudel: Into the Fire
Libretto: Gene Scheer | Camille: Diana Tash
French sculptor Camille Claudel (1864-1943), a genius in her own right, is often known only by her association with a man: Auguste Rodin, who was her mentor, teacher and became her lover. Shattered by their stormy and ill-fated love affair, and a career sabotaged at every turn, Claudel was tragically committed to an asylum by order of her own family. This story unfolds on the day she is committed. As dawn breaks, Camille awakens to the strange reality of what is about to happen to her, and she addresses her sculptures.
For a Look or a Touch
Libretto: Gene Scheer | Manfred: Zachary Gordin | Gad: Curt Branom
This deeply moving song cycle is a revealing examination of the persecution homosexuals endured under the Nazi regime. This important and timely work reflects on these historic realities from a more intimate and human distance. Manfred and Gad were lovers as teenagers in Berlin until Manfred and his family were murdered by the Third Reich. Gad, in the present day, is visited one night by Manfred’s ghost. Gad wants desperately to forget the horrors he has lived. Manfred insists on being remembered. Most of all Manfred implores Gad to remember their powerful and timeless love.