For a Look or a Touch - Seattle

 

Music of Remembrance returns to the concert hall after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic. Our performance features a rare double bill of works by the incomparable team of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. Heggie and Scheer are among the most prominent figures in new opera today. Their works like Moby-Dick and It’s a Wonderful Life have been presented by San Francisco Opera and by major opera houses around the world. Israel Opera performed Heggie’s Dead Man Walking in December 2019, and the work’s Metropolitan Opera’s 2021 production will be showcased worldwide in an HD broadcast. 

MOR’s program will include the Pacific Northwest premiere of Heggie and Scheer’s Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope (2019). The song cycle was  inspired by a rare collection of Holocaust string instruments that belonged to Jews who played them before and during the Holocaust. The work’s six songs share the stories of those precious instruments and imagine how their owners would tell their own stories. The actual historical instruments were heard in Seattle during MOR's March 1, 2020 concert, just before COVID-19 forced closure of the remainder of the season. This performance will feature the MOR debut of mezzo soprano Laura Krumm, a graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler fellowship program, along with MOR’s ensemble drawn primarily from the ranks of the Seattle Symphony.

The program also features For a Look or a Touch, the earliest of four Heggie/Scheer works that MOR has commissioned and premiered over the past decade. For a Look or a Touch was the first major musical work ever to explore the Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Since its premiere in 2007 it has traveled around the world, and MOR is bringing it back in an expanded version. The musical drama is based on the true story of two idealistic young gay men in Berlin whose lives and love were torn apart under Nazi rule. MOR’s production, directed by Erich Parce, features MOR debuts of rising operatic star baritone Jarrett Ott as Manfred Lewin, along with the eagerly awaited appearance of actor Curt Branom, a beloved fixture of San Francisco’s Beach Blanket Babylon, in the role of Gad Beck. The work bears inspiring witness to the power of love, courage and memory.

Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope (2019)
Music by Jake Heggie                      Libretto by Gene Scheer

Northwest Premiere

Laura Krumm, mezzo soprano
Mikhail Shmidt, violin solo
Artur Girsky, violin; Natasha Bazhanov, violin;
Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello
 
For a Look or a Touch (2007)
Music by Jake Heggie                      Libretto by Gene Scheer
Commissioned by Music of Remembrance

 
Manfred Lewin            Jarrett Ott, baritone
Gad Beck                    Curt Branom, actor

Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Laura DeLuca, clarinet;
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Jessica Choe, piano
 Erich Parce, director

 

Nazi concentration camp badges
Nazi concentration camp badges
Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Sheer
Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Sheer
MOR debut performances by Jarrett Ott, Curt Branom, and Laura Krumm
MOR debut performances by Jarrett Ott, Curt Branom, and Laura Krumm