Opera San José
"Opera San José has announced “The Parting Glass,” an online celebration for music-lovers on New Year’s Eve.
The program, which will be set in a pub, will include drinking songs spanning centuries and countries. The program, which was conceived and curated by OSJ Resident Bass-baritone Nathan Stark, will be directed by OSJ Resident Director Tara Branham..."
"Eager to bid adieu, farewell, and even good riddance to 2020, Opera San José has announced it will present The Parting Glass, an online celebration for music-lovers on New Year's Eve..."
"...I caught up by phone with Efraín Solís, who plays son Charlie, shortly after the filming of the opera had been completed. Among other things, we chatted about Three Decembers, the need to make opera more inclusive, accessible and relevant, and the genius of Stephen Sondheim. A charismatic baritone whose career is very much on the rise, Solís has performed with top companies such as San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera and New York City Opera..."
"Opera San José Presents: “Three Decembers” A new, fully staged and live-streamed production of Jake Heggie’s chamber opera, featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, alongside Opera San José resident artists Maya Kherani and Efraín Solís..."
"It would have figured in any year to mount composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s 2008 Christmas-tinted chamber opera Three Decembers in the calendar’s final month. But pulling it off under the pandemic restrictions of 2020, as Opera San José has done in a streaming production available through Dec. 31, is a multifaceted feat..."
“Opera San José put their excellent artists to work and, at the same time, pushed operatic boundaries in daring, new directions”
"OPERA GOES BEHIND THE SCENES: Opera San Jose premiered its new streamed show, “Three Decembers,” on Thursday night and kicked things off with a Zoom reception featuring Opera San Jose General Director Khori Dastoor, along with composer Jake Heggie and singers Susan Graham, Maya Kherani and Efraín Solís. Along with other members of the company and staff, they provided some real insight into the making of the show..."
"...Heggie’s accessible musical language keeps the gears turning smoothly. The score has arias, duets and trios that brim with the composer’s easy-on-the ear-melodies and contrast with the ‘orchestral’ accompaniment’s pungent remarks and interludes. The original 11-piece instrumentation has been reduced to two pianos, and Ray draws responsive, sensitive work from the singers and the pianists – Veronika Agranov-Dafoe (head of the company’s music staff) and Sunny Yoon..."
"...After OSJ’s brilliant re-staging of Heggie’s Moby Dick last season, the company eagerly invited Heggie to reunite with OSJ for this deeply personal piece. The parallel of today’s COVID-19 pandemic with the terrible devastation of the AIDs epidemic made its timing uncanny and Heggie happily allowed OSJ to produce the work, where it was staged and recorded last month under strict COVID protocols. Susan Graham—for whom Heggie wrote Sister Prejean in Dead Man Walking—accepted the leading role reuniting the pair, who were delighted to collaborate on this complex and deeply rewarding work..."
"Opera San Jose is inventing creative ways to stay connected with its patrons during an audience-free period. Los Altos resident Khori Dastoor, the opera’s new director, is spearheading the operation.
Dastoor is no stranger to opera. Her career took her from performing in shows to working as head of several performing arts companies. Eventually, she landed at Opera San Jose, becoming the general director late last year..."
"In the age of pandemic-driven musical streaming, chamber and even orchestral music can be managed with a little dexterity. Opera is considerably harder.
Harder, yes — but not impossible, as the elegant and efficient new offering from Opera San José clearly demonstrates. The company’s recorded production of “Three Decembers,” a compact chamber work by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, feels like a dexterous how-to for artistic operating within the age of COVID..."
"...Family issues are universal – struggles to find one’s way in the world, family secrets, parents and children dealing with issues of infidelity, depression, addiction, disease etc – none of that is going away. These are timeless struggles. Those are the stories that interest me most – intimate stories with large forces at work that are timely and timeless, American and universal. I look at Dead Man Walking and its journey around the globe. It is a very American story – and yet, it seems to have broad, universal resonance … and it feels timeless..." - Jake Heggie