Three Decembers by Jake Heggie
Based on a play by Terrence McNally, this opera by modern American composer Jake Heggie follows an aging Broadway star over 20 years as her adult children deal with the fallout of their upbringing and learn the shocking secret that their mother has been keeping from them. During her long career on the stage, Madeleine Mitchell has neglected her children and, as they reach adulthood, still seems to care little for what matters to them. Her daughter Beatrice idolizes her long-dead father while being stuck in an unhappy marriage herself.
Meanwhile, Madeleine’s son Charlie is losing his partner (whose name Madeleine can’t even remember) to AIDS. The tangled nature of their family history is revealed in both humorous and tragic moments over three Christmases each separated by a decade.
Accentuated by Heggie’s sophisticated and accessible music, Three Decembers will appeal to both lovers of musical theatre and opera. The production premiered at Houston Grand Opera in 2008 with famed soprano Frederica von Stade in the lead role and has since been produced all over the country by opera companies both large and small. Painted Sky Opera’s production is the Oklahoma premiere.