Jake Heggie in Conversation
Fresh off the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Dead Man Walking, celebrated composer Jake Heggie joined Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America, for a conversation about his career in opera: from working on the staff of the San Francisco Opera to composing some of the most widely performed new operas of the last 20 years to creating his newest work, Intelligence.
Jake Heggie, composer
Composer Jake Heggie is best known for the operas Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Three Decembers. His 10th full-length opera, Intelligence, created with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Gene Scheer, receives its premiere on opening night of Houston Grand Opera’s 2023–2024 season. Dead Man Walking opens the Metropolitan Opera’s season in a new production by Ivo van Hove, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starring Joyce DiDonato.
Heggie’s operas and his nearly 300 art songs have been performed extensively on five continents, championed by some of the world’s most beloved artists. With a libretto by the late Terrence McNally, Dead Man Walking has become “the most celebrated American opera of the 21st century” (Chicago Tribune) and has received nearly 80 international productions since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000. Recent premieres have included works for violinist Daniel Hope (Fantasy Suite 1803), mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton (What I Miss the Most...), baritone Joshua Hopkins (Songs for Murdered Sisters), and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke (Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope).
Marc A. Scorca, OPERA America President/CEO
Marc A. Scorca joined OPERA America in 1990 as president and CEO. Since that time, the OPERA America membership has grown from 120 opera companies to 3,500 organizations and individuals. Under his leadership, OPERA America has administered two landmark funding initiatives in support of the development of North American operas and opera audiences and launched an endowment effort in 2000 to create a permanent fund dedicated to supporting new works and audience development activities. In 2005, Scorca spearheaded OPERA America’s relocation from Washington, D.C. to New York City and the subsequent construction of the National Opera Center, which opened in 2012 and serves 80,000 guests each year. The Opera Center’s recital hall was dedicated as Marc A. Scorca Hall in 2015 in honor of Scorca’s 25th anniversary with the organization.
Scorca has led strategic planning retreats for opera companies and other cultural institutions internationally, and has participated on panels for federal, state, and local funding agencies, as well as for numerous private organizations. He also appears frequently in the media on a variety of cultural issues. A strong advocate of collaboration, Scorca has led several cross-disciplinary projects, including the Performing Arts Research Coalition and the National Performing Arts Convention (2004 and 2008). He is currently a member of the U.S. delegation to UNESCO. Scorca serves as an officer on the boards of the Performing Arts Alliance and the Curtis Institute of Music, and is on the Music Advisory Board of Hunter College (CUNY). Scorca attended Amherst College, where he graduated with high honors in both history and music.
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This OPERA America Onstage event took place on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at the National Opera Center in New York City.
This event is part of OPERA America Onstage, our signature public programming series that welcomes artists, students, and opera audiences for intimate performances and conversations with our industry’s leading artists and rising talent. Learn more and see what's next at OPERA America Onstage.
Looking for more opera in your life? Check out the National Opera Calendar to find out what's on stage near you.
The 2023–2024 season of OPERA America Onstage is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Programming at the National Opera Center is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.