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Jake Heggie (born March 31, 1961 in West Palm Beach, Florida) is an American composer and pianist.

Jake Heggie is the composer of the operas Dead Man Walking (2000), The End of the Affair (2004), At The Statue of Venus (2005), To Hell and Back (2006), and Moby-Dick (2010), as well as the stage work For a Look or a Touch. He has composed more than 200 art songs as well as chamber and concert works. His operas and songs are championed internationally by singers who include Isabel Bayrakdarian, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Joyce DiDonato, Jennifer Larmore, Bryn Terfel and many others. He also accompanies many of these artists in recitals.


Heggie started learning the piano when he was five years old. After spending two years in Paris, he continued his studies at the age of 20 at the University of California, Los Angeles, with the pianist Johana Harris (1912–1995), widow of the composer Roy Harris. They married in 1982 (he was 21, she 69) and separated in 1993.[1]

In 1998 he was appointed composer in residence to the San Francisco Opera, where his first opera, Dead Man Walking, was first performed in 2000. With a libretto by Terrence McNally and a production by director Joe Mantello, the opera was extensively acclaimed and it ran for two extra performances due to popularity. It has since been seen in 15 international productions, including performances at New York City Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Pacific, Baltimore Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Union Avenue Opera of Saint Louis, Calgary Opera, Dresden State Opera, State Opera of South Australia, with future performances in Vienna, Sydney and Montreal. In 2007 alone, Dead Man Walking received more than 50 performances.[citation needed] Directors of subsequent productions have included Leonard Foglia and Nikolaus Lehnhoff. His second opera, The End of the Affair, was premiered in 2004 at the Houston Grand Opera. It has since been produced by Madison Opera, Seattle Opera and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

In 2005, Heggie collaborated again with Terrence McNally to create At the Statue of Venus, which opened the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver. In 2006, he debuted To Hell and Back (libretto by Gene Scheer), commissioned by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and featuring soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and Patti LuPone, conducted by Nicholas McGegan in November 2006.

On 29 February 2008, his opera Last Acts, with a libretto by Gene Scheer based on a play by Terrence McNally, opened at the Houston Grand Opera, which commissioned the work in association with the San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances. Last Acts was its working title; it will in future be known as Three Decembers.[2]

On April 30, 2010, Heggie premiered his most recent opera, Moby-Dick (libretto by Gene Scheer) at The Dallas Opera, with tenors Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab and Stephen Costello as Greenhorn (Ishmael).[3]

Several of Heggie's works have been recorded, including, on the Pentatone label, The Hours Begin to Sing, a recital by Lisa Delan, which includes four songs from Heggie's Book of Nightmares; And if the song be worth a smile, another recital by Lisa Delan with four songs by Heggie; and HERE/AFTER, a song cycle partly about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Heggie married his partner of eight years, singer Curt Branom, in October 2008.[4]

Other works[edit]

Heggie's major works include a cello concerto (Holy The Firm), commissioned by the Oakland East Bay Symphony for cellist Emil Miland; and the song cycles The Deepest Desire (poetry by Sister Helen Prejean); The Starry Night (poetry by Anne Sexton, van Gogh and Emily Dickinson); Statuesque (poetry by Gene Scheer); Rise and Fall (poetry by Gene Scheer); Here and Gone (poetry by Vachel Lindsay and A. E. Housman); and Winter Roses (poetry by Raymond Carver, Charlene Baldridge, Frederica von Stade and Emily Dickinson).

Heggie's list of current commissions includes works for the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, Music of Remembrance, Ravinia Festival, Wigmore Hall, and the University of North Texas.


  1. ^ "For an Operatic Life, Check Out the Composer’s" by Ralph Blumenthal, The New York Times (March 13, 2008)
  2. ^ Blank, Matt (6 March 2008). "Photo Journal: Jake Heggie's Last Acts Premieres at Houston Grand Opera". Playbill. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  3. ^ Midgette (May 3, 2010)
  4. ^ Zinko, Carolyne (7 December 2008). "Profile: Opera composer Jake Heggie". SFGate.com. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_Heggie — Please support Wikipedia.
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439 news items

Mon, 25 Aug 2014 10:00:01 -0700

Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Opera Program have selected "Great Scott," a new American opera by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally, for the Opera Fusion: New Works residency this fall. "Great Scott" is ...
Broadway World
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:11:15 -0700

Founder and Artistic Director Nicole Paiement has announced details of Opera Parallèle's 2014--2015 season, which will feature the premiere of a new production of Jake Heggie's acclaimed Dead Man Walking--marking the 15th anniversary of one of the ...
Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:48:45 -0700

Bratislava Boys Choir, the acclaimed group from Slovakia in two concerts honoring the 150th anniversary of the birth of Father Jozef Murgas “Radio's Forgotten Genius.” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 35 S. Franklin St., ...
San Francisco Classical Voice
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:33:45 -0700

London production of <em>The Heart of Darkness</em> Photo by Nicole Paiement and Brian Staufenbiel have announced Opera Parallèle's next season: Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking (Feb. 20-March 7) and Tarik O'Regan's Heart of Darkness (May 1-3).
Broadway World
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:37:11 -0700

Ms. DiDonato's Perspectives series moves to Zankel Hall on February 5 for a concert with the Brentano String Quartet to include the New York premiere of Camille Claudel: Into the Fire by composer Jake Heggie, a frequent collaborator. The program also ...
TheaterJones Performing Arts News
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:00:00 -0700

She was a stylistic chameleon, changing her technique and approach to the music as she moved through the wide variety n the program, from orchestral opera to subtle art songs—and composers a different as Verdi, Manuel de Falla and Jake Heggie, ...
Dallas Morning News
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:11:15 -0700

There were lengthy biographies of the performers, but no program notes to tell us the dramatic contexts of the operatic duets, from Verdi's La traviata and Mascagni's L'amico Fritz, or backgrounds of the Jake Heggie Friendly Persuasions songs. In the ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700

There is a bel canto evening, baroque in the form of Handel's Alcina, the European premiere of a contemporary work written for her by American composer Jake Heggie, one of her masterclasses that have become minor YouTube sensations and a full-scale ...

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