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
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
Works on This Recording
Three Decembers by Jake Heggie
Kristin Clayton (Mezzo Soprano),
Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano),
Keith Phares (Voice)
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Featured Sound Samples
Act I, Scene 1: A Christmas Letter
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