Music of Remembrance Presents World Premiere of Out of Darkness, A New Opera by Composer Jake Heggie & Librettist Gene Scheer

March 10, 2016
Contact: Mina Miller, Artistic Director
(206) 365-7770


Music of Remembrance Presents World Premiere of Out of Darkness,

A New Opera by Composer Jake Heggie & Librettist Gene Scheer

Performances to take place in Seattle and San Francisco


SEATTLE, WA—Seattle-based Music of Remembrance (MOR) will present the world premiere of Out of Darkness at 4:00 p.m. on May 22, 2016, at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, and again at 7:30 p.m. on May 25 and 26 at the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Out of Darkness is MOR’s newest commission from the internationally acclaimed team of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. The two-act opera is a powerful portrait of survival that conveys the vastness of the scope of the Holocaust through emotionally rich depictions of those caught in its grasp. The first act, titled “Krystyna,” tells the true story of Krystyna Zywulska, whose daring poems became anthems of defiance among her fellow prisoners in Auschwitz.  Act Two, “Gad,” explores the fate of homosexuals during the Holocaust through the experience of Gad Beck and Manfred Lewin, two idealistic young lovers in 1930s Berlin whose lives and love were torn apart under Nazi rule.

Heggie and Scheer tell these stories with uncompromising emotional honesty, and with deep compassion that never descends to pathos or sentimentality. Their richly textured music conveys an understanding of those touched by the Holocaust, in all their complicated humanity.

Out of Darkness marks the fourth commission in Heggie and Scheer’s decade-long collaboration with MOR, and is based on their earlier For a Look or a Touch (2007), Another Sunrise (2012), and Farewell, Auschwitz (2013).  Heggie describes what moves him to create these important works honoring the Holocaust’s legacy: “I’m particularly inspired by stories of social justice and the inequities of life, and how we are all connected as human beings despite those inequities.”

Out of Darkness will feature a stellar cast. Soprano Caitlin Lynch, applauded by the New York Times as “luminous,” appears as the mature Krystyna, joined by soprano Ava Pine, who portrays Krystyna in flashbacks to her youth. Catherine Cook, who has performed more than 50 roles with San Francisco Opera, sings the role of Zosha, Krystyna’s friend and fellow prisoner in Auschwitz. Veteran baritone Robert Orth, for whom Heggie created roles in Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick, portrays Gad. Baritone Michael Mayes, who sings the role of Manfred, is recognized for his powerful voice and arresting stage presence. The imaginative production is directed by Erich Parce and conducted by Joseph Mechavich.

Music of Remembrance is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Artistic Director Mina Miller to remember the Holocaust through music. In addition to rediscovering and performing music from that time, MOR has commissioned and premiered over 20 new Holocaust-inspired works by some of today’s leading composers, telling new stories that need to be heard and challenging audiences to question their own thinking.

More information is available at the MOR website:


Seattle Concert Ticket Information
Tickets: $45
Phone Orders: 1-206 365-7770
Online Orders:
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall; 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, 2016
San Francisco Concert Ticket Information
Tickets: $60 - $75
Phone Orders: 1-206 365-7770
Online Orders:
San Francisco Conservatory of Music; 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, and Thursday, May 26, 2016


Jake Heggie
Out of Darkness World Premiere Performances
Libretto by Gene Scheer
Commissioned by Music of Remembrance

Caitlin Lynch, soprano, Ava Pine, soprano; Catherine Cook, mezzo soprano; Michael Mayes, baritone; Robert Orth, baritone

Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass; Jessica Choe, piano

Mina Miller, Artistic Director
Erich Parce, Stage Director
Joseph Mechavich, Conductor
Matthew Antaky, Lighting & Scenic Designer
David Murakami, Media Designer
Laura Anderson, Production & Stage Manager
Rachel Kunze Wilkie, Costumer


About Music of Remembrance

Founded in 1998 by pianist Mina Miller, Music of Remembrance (MOR) fills a unique cultural role throughout the world by remembering the Holocaust through music with concert performances, educational programs, recordings and commissions of new works.

  • Mainstage concerts and innovative programs at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall featuring leading musicians and world-acclaimed guest artists
  • Sparks of Glory,” a series of free concerts-with-commentary at the Seattle Art Museum and other community settings
  • Educational outreach, live performances and multi-media presentations to schools and colleges
  • Seven CD recordings produced for Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label
  • The Boys of Terezin, MOR’s 2011 documentary film, continues to be screened by film festivals around the globe

MOR also commissions and premieres new Holocaust-inspired works by today’s leading composers, building bridges across generations and sharing stories that underline the urgent moral relevance of the Holocaust for us now.

Publication Date