Guest Artist Lecture

The Art of Composer Jake Heggie

Guest Artist Lecture

Jake Heggie

Duncan Recital Hall at Alice Pratt Brown Hall
Cost: Pay what you wish

This fall Jake Heggie has operas opening the seasons of two major companies, becoming the first American composer ever to reach this monumental achievement, and the first composer anywhere to do so in over a century. On the historic occasion of HGO’s world premiere of Intelligence—as well as The Metropolitan Opera’s opening of Heggie’s first opera, Dead Man Walking, which premiered in 2000—HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers and Rice University Shepherd School of Music Professor of Opera and Director of Opera Studies Joshua Winograde sit down with Heggie to discuss his process and his evolving perspective on opera development and composition throughout his three-decade career.

Please note that tickets are required for this event. 


American composer Jake Heggie is best known for Dead Man Walking (2000), the most widely performed new opera of the last 20 years, with a libretto by Terrence McNally, and his critically acclaimed operas Moby-Dick (2010), Three Decembers (2008), and It’s a Wonderful Life (2016), all with libretti by Gene Scheer. In addition to 10 full-length operas and numerous one-acts, Heggie has composed more than 300 art songs, as well as concerti, chamber music, choral, and orchestral works. His compositions have been performed on five continents, and he regularly collaborates with some of the world’s most beloved artists as both composer and pianist.

Heggie actively seeks out projects that invite a wide range of perspectives and possibilities. A new Ivo van Hove production of Dead Man Walking, based on the iconic memoir by Sister Helen Prejean, opens the Metropolitan Opera’s 23/24 season in New York City, starring Joyce DiDonato, Ryan McKinny, and Susan Graham, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium. Heggie’s opera Intelligence explores the true story of two women who infiltrated the Confederate White House during the American Civil War. Created with Jawole Zollar and Gene Scheer, this work receives its world premiere on opening night of Houston Grand Opera’s season, conducted by Kwamé Ryan and starring Jamie Barton, Janai Brugger, J’Nai Bridges, and Urban Bush Women. Elsewhere, Before It All Goes Dark, a one-act opera commissioned by Music of Remembrance and based on a story originally reported by Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune, will premiere in Seattle and tour to Chicago and San Francisco, while The Elements: Fire, Heggie’s new commission for violinist Joshua Bell, premieres at Germany’s Elbphilharmonie and tours to major stages in New York, Seattle, Chicago, and Hong Kong.

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Presented in partnership with Houston Grand Opera


Duncan Recital Hall at Alice Pratt Brown Hall