University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Heggie: Great Scott

11/25/2018 1:00 pm
11/25/2018 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

An American opera provides a feast for the ears on the Sunday following the big Thanksgiving holiday repast. Jake Heggie (b. 1961) is one of the hottest composers on the contemporary American opera scene. He achieved his big breakthrough into that scene with his acclaimed Dead Man Walking (2000), the world premiere recording of which I broadcast on Sunday, February 22, 2004. Most recently, Heggie's Christmas opera It's A Wonderful Life, inspired by the movie of the same name, went over the air on this program on Christmas Eve Sunday of 2017.

Great Scott is an opera about opera. The leading character of the title is a fictitious American lyric mezzo of our time, one Arden Scott. She has uncovered the manuscript score of a long lost bel canto opera. She has persuaded the director of the American Opera company to take the colossal risk of a world premiere production of the 1835 Rosa Dolorosa by Vittorio Bazzini, in which she will take the starring role. Much intrigue ensues. A truly great real-life American mezzo of our time, Joyce DiDonato, stars as Arden Scott.

The world premiere of Jake Heggie's Great Scott, his American Opera in two acts, with libretto by Terence McNally, was recorded live in performance, October 30, 2015 in Dallas, Texas at the Winspear Opera House. Great Scott was jointly commissioned and produced by Dallas Opera and San Diego Opera. Patrick Summers conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of The Dallas Opera. Great Scott was released earlier this year on two Erato compact discs through Parlophone/Warner Music Group.