Jake Heggie Guestblog on “Camille Claudel”

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Photo © Ellen Appel

I am counting the minutes to the concert with Joyce DiDonato and the Alexander String Quartet! In a way, it feels like the culmination of a 20-year quest: waiting for the right venue, the right artists, the right time in my creative life to give Camille Claudel a voice. She is somebody I have thought about since the movie, Camille Claudel, came out in the late 80s. It’s one thing to write music and roles for fictional characters, but quite another to take on the responsibility of someone who actually was on the planet. Having Joyce, the ASQ, and librettist Gene Scheerwith me has certainly made matters clearer and easier.

The quartet has been rehearsing with a fantastic local soprano, Ann Moss, so they have been able to get the vocal line into their ears from the start. This was essential because Joyce just finished a run of performances at the Met in New York; she and the quartet will have just two rehearsals before the concert. The quartet is way ahead of the game now; and I had the chance to work with Joyce in New York about two weeks ago. It’s a great privilege and honor to collaborate with artists who can put together something so big (a new 35-minute composition!) in such short order. They are all absolutely in love with the new songs and it looks like we’ll record them this fall at Skywalker Ranch as part of an all Heggie/Scheer CD.

We’re all especially delighted to be doing all of this in celebration of the ASQ’s 30th anniversary! It’s a great honor and delight to celebrate with them in this very special way.

— Jake Heggie, composer

About Jake Heggie:

Jake Heggie is the American composer of the operas Moby-Dick (libretto: Gene Scheer), Dead Man Walking (libretto: Terrence McNally), Three Decembers (libretto: Scheer), The End of the Affair (libretto: Heather McDonald), To Hell and Back (libretto: Scheer), and the stage works For a Look or a Touch (libretto: Scheer) and At the Statue of Venus (libretto: McNally). He has also composed more than 200 art songs, as well as orchestral, choral and chamber music. His recent recording of songs and duets, PASSING BY: Songs by Jake Heggie, (AVIE), features performances by Isabel Bayrakdarian, Zheng Cao, Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Paul Groves, Keith Phares, and Frederica von Stade.

For a full bio and more information, visit http://jakeheggie.com

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