Three Decembers 'Pre-Show'

To view the opera, please click on the performance link in your order confirmation or Pre-Show email.

To locate the email that contains your performance  link, please search your inbox for an email from: boxoffice@operasj.org.

Questions? Email us at boxoffice@operasj.org.

Optimize your Viewing Experience

Learn about the different ways  to watch this performance – including, using services like AirPlay, Chromecast, or an HDMI connection to view Three Decembers on your TV!

“Casting” is compatible with many models of Smart TVs. Casting works by connecting your smart device (Phone, Tablet, Laptop, or Desktop) to your Smart TV to use as a display. AirPlay is the casting option used by Apple, and works with most of their devices.

iPhone or iPad:

  1. Connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV.
  2. Find the video that you want to stream.
  3. Tap . In some third-party apps, you might need to tap a different icon first.* In the Photos app, tap , then tap .
  4. Choose your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV. Need help?

To stop streaming, tap  in the app that you’re streaming from, then tap your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from the list.

Mac (Laptop or Desktop)

  1. Connect your Mac to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV. 
  2. On your Mac, open the app or website that you want to stream video from.
  3. In the video playback controls, click .
  4. Select your Apple TV or smart TV. Need help?

To stop streaming video, click  in the video playback controls, then choose Turn Off AirPlay.

Make sure both your mobile device and Roku are both on the same WiFi network. In order to watch on your Roku device, you must first download the following app on your mobile device:

https://channelstore.roku.com/details/150902/mirror-for-roku

Add the Mirror for Roku channel to your Roku device and then open the channel.

On your mobile device, open the Mirror for Roku app and mirror your device to your Roku device.

Open your performance link from your mobile browser, making sure to rotate your device to full screen the video – and click the play button.

Turn the volume off on your mobile device, and enjoy!

In order to watch this performance on your Amazon Fire Stick, you must first download the free browser, Amazon Silk.

Download App: https://www.amazon.com/amazon-com-amazon-silk-web-browser/dp/b01M35MQV4

Using this browser, log in to your email and click the link to view your performance (found in your order confirmation email).

Allow the browser to leave the page (if prompted).

This should open a new window asking you to accept the terms and conditions with a Start Watching button.

Click the play button and enjoy!

It is very common these days for a Smart TV to be connected to another device (perhaps a DVD player?) via an HDMI cable. This is a great way to connect a laptop to a Smart TV to use as a display, to achieve superior picture and sound. By connecting with an HDMI cable, and changing the “Input” on your television, you can, in seconds, see this performance on your big screen!

1: Determine whether your TV and laptop has an HDMI port.

2: Connect one end of the HDMI cable into an empty HDMI port on the TV. Take note of the HDMI input number it is being connected to.

3: Plug the other end of the cable into your laptop’s HDMI port.

4: Make sure the TV and the computer are both powered on.

5: Change the “input” on your television using the “input” button on your remote. Choose the same input number that you plugged the cable into.

You did it! Open your performance link and enjoy the show.

(Oh No! Is your computer screen NOT displaying on your TV? You might need to do a few more steps)

6: Right-click on any empty space on your desktop or laptop screen. Select “Display settings”. A window should appear.

7: This window helps your computer find new computer screens. Click “Detect”, which forces your computer to look for a new screen (in this case, your TV!).

8: Once your computer detects multiple screens, represented by large boxes numbered “1” and “2”, click “Identify”. This will flash a number on each screen for you, so you know which screen is your TV.

9: Once you know which screen option is the TV, select THAT screen and scroll down to the “Multiple Displays” drop down.

10: From the drop down, select “Duplicate these displays”. This will cause your computer screen to appear on your TV.

You did it! Open your performance link and enjoy the show.

This performance can be viewed on most smart devices, and will work with most of the major internet browsing services. Simply follow the link in your pre-show email (or order confirmation) to view your performance in whatever browser you typically use.

This option requires you to use a Chrome browser, and is heavily dependent on your hardware. The experience can vary depending on your device, internet speed, and wireless connection.

To show Chrome on your TV, you’ll need:

Cast a tab from Chrome browser

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More More and then Cast.
  3. Choose the Chromecast device where you want to watch the content.
    • If you’re already using the Chromecast, your content will replace what’s on your TV.
  4. When you’re done, to the right of the address bar, click Cast Active cast extension and then Stop casting.

Cast your entire computer screen

You can display your entire computer screen using Chrome on Windows.

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More More and then Cast.
  3. Click Sources Down Arrow.
  4. Click Cast desktop.
  5. Choose the Chromecast device where you want to watch the content.

VIdeo player navigation

  1. Start and pause the video.
  2. Make the video full screen.
    1. Press Esc in full screen mode to exit OR move your mouse to the top of your screen and click “Exit Full Screen”.
  3. Mute or Unmute.
  4. Turn on Spanish, Vietnamese, or English subtitles.
  5. Keep the show playing while you navigate the web.

Some Thoughts on Three Decembers
By Larry Hancock

People see his plays and want to live more fully, more truthfully, more joyfully.
The feelings are true, and real, and authentic.
The characters are on fire with who they are…

On March 24, 2020 COVID-19 killed Terrence McNally. That day, America lost one of its most accomplished and celebrated creators. His awards as playwright, librettist, screen writer and more, are too many to list here, but his 2018 induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, our nation’s most prestigious award for artists, indicates something of his stature.

To launch Jake Heggie’s career as an opera composer, San Francisco Opera General Director Lotfi Mansouri paired him with Terrence McNally. These startlingly brilliant men created Dead Man Walking. Jake Heggie’s first opera is the most performed opera of the 21st century.

Including Dead Man Walking, Heggie has composed at least ten operas, and among them are Moby-Dick, The End of the Affair, Great Scott (with McNally) and It’s a Wonderful Life. In addition to McNally, Heggie has most often worked with librettist Gene Scheer. Heggie’s list of works is so extensive and varied that the only way to understand his scope is to visit his website. McNally’s play, Some Christmas Letters (and a couple of phone calls, too), became the basis for an opera, Three Decembers, with a libretto by Gene Scheer, composed by Jake Heggie. Remarkable for a contemporary work, Three Decembers has had thirty productions around the world.

Susan Graham, Photo by David Allen

To honor the memory of Terrence McNally, Opera San José has produced a digital production of Three Decembers featuring international opera star Susan Graham, who is joined by celebrated Opera San José Resident Company members soprano Maya Kherani and baritone Efraín Solís, conducted by Christopher James Ray and directed by Tara Branham.

This is a story that encompasses three Christmases, and, unusually, McNally chose to tell the story principally through letters, which means monologues. Sheer and Heggie, while following the play faithfully, have enriched these monologues by, when opportune, bringing other characters on stage, though they might be scattered from Barbados to New Haven and San Francisco. The performers are able to offer us not only solos, but duets and trios, though these terms are a too simplistic for the resources of Jake Heggie, who, by blending melodic phrasing freely among his characters, builds tension and power, lifting the drama to the surprising and powerful emotions required by McNally.

Set Design by Steven Kemp

Set Designer Steven Kemp developed a scenic concept that supports this fluidity of place and time by surrounding the action with a rich array of elements from the storied stage career of principal character Madeline Mitchell. These elements dominate the stage and reflect nothing of the lives of her daughter, Beatrice, and Charlie, Madeline’s son. From this mass of backstage objects, props, and costumes, individual pieces are pulled out to indicate specific places, then melt again into the background.

Costume Designer Alyssa Oania, working continually with stage director Tara Branham as the production developed during the staging process, purchased the costumes online to avoid visiting stores, and our Principal Cutter Marina Agabekov and Oania carried out final fittings as they would any OSJ production. This was a precaution to maintain the company in a protective bubble as much as possible. This kind of thinking about the safety of every person involved dominated the entire process. No person in the production contracted the virus.

A possible take-away from Three Decembers might be that life just isn’t always fair, and it isn’t always easy, and families go through things that break them apart. If they are lucky, other things bring them back together. Three Decembers is a study of people doing their best to make the best decision, given who they are and what they know. But the process asks a price of everyone, and prices make you stronger, if they don’t kill you.

People see his plays and want to live more fully, more truthfully, more joyfully.
The feelings are true, and real, and authentic.
The characters are on fire with who they are.

On March 24, 2020 COVID-19 killed Terrence McNally. That day, America lost one of its most accomplished and celebrated creators. His awards as playwright, librettist, screen writer and more, are too many to list here, but his 2018 induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, our nation’s most prestigious award for artists, indicates something of his stature.

To launch Jake Heggie’s career as an opera composer, San Francisco Opera General Director Lotfi Mansouri paired him with Terrence McNally. These startlingly brilliant men created Dead Man Walking. Jake Heggie’s first opera is the most performed opera of the 21st century.

Including Dead Man Walking, Heggie has composed at least ten operas, and among them are Moby-Dick, The End of the Affair, Great Scott (with McNally) and It’s a Wonderful Life. In addition to McNally, Heggie has most often worked with librettist Gene Scheer. Heggie’s list of works is so extensive and varied that the only way to understand his scope is to visit his website. McNally’s play, Some Christmas Letters (and a couple of phone calls, too), became the basis for an opera, Three Decembers, with a libretto by Gene Scheer, composed by Jake Heggie. Remarkable for a contemporary work, Three Decembers has had thirty productions around the world.

Susan Graham, Photo by David Allen

To honor the memory of Terrence McNally, Opera San José has produced a digital production of Three Decembers featuring international opera star Susan Graham, who is joined by celebrated Opera San José Resident Company members soprano Maya Kherani and baritone Efraín Solís, conducted by Christopher James Ray and directed by Tara Branham.

This is a story that encompasses three Christmases, and, unusually, McNally chose to tell the story principally through letters, which means monologues. Sheer and Heggie, while following the play faithfully, have enriched these monologues by, when opportune, bringing other characters on stage, though they might be scattered from Barbados to New Haven and San Francisco. The performers are able to offer us not only solos, but duets and trios, though these terms are a too simplistic for the resources of Jake Heggie, who, by blending melodic phrasing freely among his characters, builds tension and power, lifting the drama to the surprising and powerful emotions required by McNally.

Set Design by Steven Kemp

Set Designer Steven Kemp developed a scenic concept that supports this fluidity of place and time by surrounding the action with a rich array of elements from the storied stage career of principal character Madeline Mitchell. These elements dominate the stage and reflect nothing of the lives of her daughter, Beatrice, and Charlie, Madeline’s son. From this mass of backstage objects, props, and costumes, individual pieces are pulled out to indicate specific places, then melt again into the background.

Costume Designer Alyssa Oania, working continually with stage director Tara Branham as the production developed during the staging process, purchased the costumes online to avoid visiting stores, and our Principal Cutter Marina Agabekov and Oania carried out final fittings as they would any OSJ production. This was a precaution to maintain the company in a protective bubble as much as possible. This kind of thinking about the safety of every person involved dominated the entire process. No person in the production contracted the virus.

A possible take-away from Three Decembers might be that life just isn’t always fair, and it isn’t always easy, and families go through things that break them apart. If they are lucky, other things bring them back together. Three Decembers is a study of people doing their best to make the best decision, given who they are and what they know. But the process asks a price of everyone, and prices make you stronger, if they don’t kill you.

The Making of Three Decembers