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Heggie: Three Decembers / Summers, Von Stade, Clayton, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Et Al


Release Date: 12/09/2008 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1073/74   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jake Heggie
Performer:  Kristin ClaytonFrederica Von StadeKeith Phares
Conductor:  Patrick Summers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 28 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The cast is outstanding; Frederica von Stade, Keith Phares, and Kristin Clayton sing with warm, glowing tone, and all are superb actors.

Jake Heggie composed this musical play in three acts for Frederica von Stade, who has had a large influence on his composing career. Heggie was working in the press office of the San Francisco Opera when he first met von Stade. She listened to some of his songs and became so enthused that Heggie received a commission for his first opera. Three Decembers is taken from a play titled Some Christmas Letters and tells the story of the emotional lives of three people: mother, adult daughter and son through letters and phone calls during three Decembers in three different
Read more decades of their lives.

"The score shows the easy lyricism typical of Heggie's style and has the strong flavor of musical theater. Both the opera's strength and weakness lie in its lyricism...Even though the opera may not be fully successful as an integrated theatrical piece, it's deeply moving in its particulars, and it would be nearly impossible not to be touched by the sadness of the vividly drawn characters' inability to acknowledge and express their love for each other. This recording was taken from a live performance by the Houston Grand Opera...The cast is outstanding; Frederica von Stade, Keith Phares, and Kristin Clayton sing with warm, glowing tone, and all are superb actors. The sound is good for a live recording, with clarity and an excellent sense of presence, and with very little stage or audience noise." - Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide
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Works on This Recording

1. Three Decembers by Jake Heggie
Performer:  Kristin Clayton (Mezzo Soprano), Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano), Keith Phares (Voice)
Conductor:  Patrick Summers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

Featured Sound Samples

Act I, Scene 1: A Christmas Letter

Sound Samples

3 Decembers: Act I Part I: Prelude
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 1: Her letters are always full of ... (Charlie, Bea, Maddy)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 1: Trio: Once, before you born ... (Bea, Maddy, Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 1: Aria: Curt. She called him Curt (Charlie, Bea)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 2: Lalalalalalalala ... (Maddy)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 2: Song: Of course, it's not your fault, dear (Maddy)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 3: What a great house tonight! (Maddy, Bea)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 3: Duet: In the mouths in the years ahead - (Maddy, Bea)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 4: God, it's windy! (Bea, Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act I Part I, Scene 4: Duet: What do you remember about Dad? (Bea, Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 1: Each day I write your four little lines (Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 2: The moon sings a song for you every night (Maddy, Bea, Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 3: Maddy's apartment
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 3: Aria: She's late (Bea, Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 3: Duet: Ond day, after Dad dies (Bea, Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 3: You look dear, but I'd stay with the burgundy (Maddy, Charlie, Bea)
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 3: Trio: I don't believe you. (Bea, Maddy, Charlie)
3 Decembers: Act II Part II, Scene 3: Interlude
3 Decembers: Part III: Thank you all for coming. She loved a full house (Charlie, Bea, Maddy
3 Decembers: Part III: Farewell: All in all, isn't life simply grand? (Maddy, Bea, Charlie)

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