Great Scott
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: Terrance McNally
Librettist Bio: Terrence McNally was awarded the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He is the winner of Tony Awards for his plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as well as his books for the musicals Ragtime and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. In 2010 the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presented Terrence McNally’s Nights at the Opera, a three-play festival of his work. His other plays include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Corpus Christi; A Perfect Ganesh; The Ritz; It’s Only a Play; Some Men; Golden Age; Deuce; The Lisbon Traviata; Bad Habits; The Stendhal Syndrome; Dedication, or The Stuff of Dreams; Next; Unusual Acts of Devotion; Sweet Eros; Witness; Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone? and his first play …And Things that Go Bump in the Night. Mr. McNally has written the books for the musicals The Full Monty, A Man of No Importance, The Visit and The Rink. He won an Emmy Award for “Best Drama” with his teleplay Andre’s Mother. He wrote the screenplays for Frankie and Johnny, Love! Valour! Compassion! and The Ritz. He wrote the libretto for the opera Dead Man Walking with music by Jake Heggie. Among his many awards are a Citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, four Drama Desk Awards, three Hull-Warringer “Best Play” awards from the Dramatists Guild, two Obies, two Lortel Awards and two Guggenheim Fellowships. Mr. McNally has been a member of the Dramatists Guild since 1965 and served as the organization’s Vice-President (1985-2001). He lives in Manhattan with his spouse, Tom Kirdahy.
Other Artistic Personnel: Patrick Summers (conductor)
Original Cast: Joyce DiDonato (Arden Scott)
Ailyn Perez (Tatyana Bakst)
Nathan Gunn (Sid Taylor)
Anthony Roth Costanzo (Roane Heckle)
Frederica von Stade (Mrs. Edward 'Winnie' Flato)
Kevin Burdette (Eric Gold/Ghost of Bazzetti)
Premiere Date: October 30, 2015
Description: Synopsis

ACT ONE: (In Rehearsal)

Final rehearsals are underway for American Opera’s world premiere performance of Vittorio Bazzetti’s Rosa Dolorosa, Figlia di Pompei which has lain neglected since its composition in 1835 until it was found by the celebrated American lyric-mezzo Arden Scott in a drawer at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

Now, to celebrate her official hometown debut, Arden has proposed to American Opera a production of this long-lost – and everyone hopes – masterpiece of bel canto. The future of the struggling company, headed by founder and artistic director Winnie Flato, depends on the success of Rosa Dolorosa – just as the fate of the Grizzlies, the town’s professional football team (owned by Winnie’s husband), depends on the outcome of the Super Bowl across town the very same night as Rosa.

Arden tells the company the story of finding the manuscript and her confidence in its worth, but shares her own self-doubts that she will do it justice. She is at a crucial point in her career and her decision to sing Rosa Dolorosa will have serious consequences for her, both personal and professional. A potentially serious stage accident further rattles everyone’s nerves and a full break is called.

Eric Gold, the conductor, is put surprisingly off guard when Roane Heckle, American Opera’s stage manager, begins a flirtation with him. Baritone Wendell Swann and tenor Anthony Candolino waste no time in making sure that Winnie will remember them for future engagements at American Opera.

Taking all this in is Tatyana Bakst, a young soprano Arden discovered in Eastern Europe and immediately proposed for the second lead in Rosa Dolorosa. Eager to make her American debut at an important occasion, Tatyana misses nothing, including the proposal from Winnie’s husband that Arden sing the National Anthem before the Super Bowl kick-off next Sunday.

Arden and Winnie are enjoying a fond reminiscence of the important role each has played in the other’s life – singer and mentor – when they are interrupted by the arrival of Sid Taylor, Arden’s former boyfriend, now an admired local architect, and his little boy, Tommy, who has an important non-singing role in Rosa.

Arden and Sid are soon reminded of the passion and significance of their prior relationship, which both of them abandoned because of the conflicts of their career choices. Neither of them wants to make the same mistake again.

Returning from their break, the singers remind Winnie what busy, hectic, nomadic existences they have. They’ve even made up a game about it.

The company resumes rehearsal for Rosa Dolorosa. At a critical ensemble moment, Tommy runs on to say his all-important spoken line. Unfortunately, there is a spectacular musical crash and burn instead. Tatyana blames Tommy and berates the boy in front of the entire company. Arden comforts him. The company then rehearses the “Fountain Dance” and everything that could go wrong with it does. The rehearsal comes to a grinding halt again.

Winnie is in justifiable agony and wonders when American Opera will know if Rosa Dolorosa is a success. Only “on the night,” Arden tells Winnie. Arden lives for such moments. In the meantime, they rehearse. Tommy runs onstage again and delivers his line, this time perfectly: “Vesuvius is going to erupt!” The curtain falls.

ACT TWO: (In Performance)

Tatyana has a dazzling success singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl across town. Backstage at America Opera, her colleagues are alternately amazed and appalled as they watch the event on television.

Arden is already feeling the professional and personal impact of her decision not to have accepted the Grizzlies invitation to sing it. Tatyana’s police escort rushes her to the opera house so the premiere of Rosa Dolorosa can begin.

The first act of Rosa Dolorosa goes magnificently: scenes that were tentative in rehearsal now play without incident. Tommy delivers his line impeccably. Even the Fountain Dance goes well. The company is encouraged at how the performance is going. There is a cherry on the icing: The Grizzlies are trouncing their opponents.

Alone in her dressing room, Arden prepares for Rosa’s treacherous mad scene. Sid enters and surprises her: he’s bypassed the Super Bowl to attend her performance. He wants Arden to consider giving them a chance as a couple. This would mean both of them changing their lives dramatically, of course. Much to Arden’s relief, Roane enters and orders Sid out.

Arden and Roane have a moment together. Unlike Arden, he is one of the invisible people in the theater. He calls places for Act Two and leaves.

The ghost of Vittorio Bazzetti, composer of Rosa Dolorosa, appears to Arden. He challenges her as an artist and as a woman, daring her to make the same supreme sacrifice his heroine Rosa did. Arden begins to unravel. The separation between Arden and Rosa is becoming increasingly blurred. He thanks her for her service to his music. He knows the enormous price she has paid for this evening. He urges her to also sing the music of her time, to accept the chance to create Medea Refracted, a new and radically difficult opera composed especially for her, before a younger, more adventurous singer dares its many challenges. 

The entire company is onstage when Arden enters to sing Rosa’s Mad Scene, a lamentation of sacrifice and duty that ends with a brilliantly defiant acceptance of her fate and the will of the gods. The opera ends. The performance has gone flawlessly. The exultant performers take their bows.

During the performance – via supertitles – we have followed the Super Bowl score. In a swift and sudden reversal of fortune, the Grizzlies have lost.

Arden invites the ever-optimistic Winnie to take a curtain call with her. Winnie delivers impassioned words of gratitude for the support the audience has given to her and American Opera all these many years. Her husband has assured her of his support for her beloved opera company. Arden leads the company in cheers for Winnie.

The celebration is jubilant backstage as everyone changes to get ready for the cast party. In the midst of the excitement, Arden decides to brave the Internet blogs to see what the response to Rosa Dolorosa has been. Instead, she reads that Medea Refracted has been given to Tatyana Bakst.  

Tatyana arrives and explains to Arden that she meant to tell her personally. She will also sing the title role of Rosa Dolorosa in a new production in Venice. Stunned but generous, Arden offers the young soprano some advice about what may lie ahead.

Arden and Roane are alone. “Is anyone waiting for me?” she asks. “Lots of fans,” he tells her. That isn’t what she meant.

A ghost light glows on the bare stage. Sid and Tommy are waiting for her. Tommy runs off and Sid asks Arden if she has an answer for him yet. She asks for a moment by herself.

The Ghost of Vittorio Bazzetti appears to Arden and they bow respectfully to each other before he fades away. Standing alone now center stage, she takes in the vast, empty space before her.

Tommy runs in. He forgot his skateboard.

Arden follows him off.
Character List (Major): Arden Scott (Mezzo)
Tatyana Bakst (Soprano)
Mrs. Edward 'Winnie' Flato (Mezzo)
Sid Taylor (Baritone)
Roane Heckle (Countertenor)
Eric Gold/Ghost of Bazzetti (Bass)
Length: Length is not available.
Total Acts: 2
Contact: Bill Holab
Address: Bill Holab Music
377 Sterling Place, No. 4
Brooklyn, NY 11238 USA
1 (718) 499-3946 (phone)
1 (718) 310-6190 (fax)
Composer Web Site: http://www.jakeheggie.com
Librettist Web Site: http://terrencemcnally.com/
Publisher Web Site: billholabmusic.com
THE ORGANIZATION EXPERIENCE OPERA RESOURCES
THE NATIONAL OPERA CENTER EVENTS FACILITIES AND SERVICES
BECOME A MEMBER SUPPORT OPERA AMERICA
RESOURCES
To have your company’s photos included in the header rotation, send photos that are at least 1200px wide and 550px tall to Webmaster@operaamerica.org. Please note that submission of photos does not guarantee inclusion.
All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621
Info@operaamerica.org

Privacy PolicyReturns Policy
2015 Form 990FY16 Audited Financial Statement
© Copyright 1995-2017 OPERA America Inc.

Technical issue with the website? Let us know.