MELISSA DAVIS

Also Available
JAKE HEGGIE: COULD IT BE MADNESS - THIS?

JAKE HEGGIE: COULD IT BE MADNESS - THIS?

Song Settings of Emily Dickinson

Jake Heggie

MELISSA DAVIS, soprano
JERRY WONG, piano


Includes World Premiere Recordings

[MS1813]

$14.95

PROGRAM NOTES
“I don’t know exactly what it is except that to me, [Dickinson] is still the most current and contemporary poet.” [Jake Heggie]
 
Emily Dickinson was not properly recognized for her astonishing output until long after her death, when her manuscripts were discovered and eventually published. Early editors changed the original manuscripts because the thematic material of much of her poetry was not common during the period that she lived and was certainly not representative of a typical nineteenth century female poet. Prize-winning American composer Jake Heggie has found endless inspiration from Dickinson’s texts. This disc is a comprehensive recording of Heggie’s settings of Dickinson throughout his career.

American-born soprano Melissa Davis is a frequent performer of operatic and musical theatre repertoire and has   appeared throughout the United States as well as Australia, Asia, and Europe. Her devotion to art song has led to extensive research and performance of a wide range of American composers, with recent performances including works of Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, William Bolcom, Aaron Copland, Jake Heggie, Charles Ives, André Previn, and Ned Rorem. She collaborates regularly with her husband, pianist Jerry Wong, and together they gave the world premiere of Sebastian Birch’s Three Songs from Orpheus & Echo. In 2022 they gave the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Could it be Madness – this? on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Having relocated to Australia in 2019, Melissa is a member of the vocal staff at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. A constant advocate on behalf of young aspiring opera singers, she has been Artistic Director of Nightingale Opera Theatre in the United States since 2012, in which capacity she has worked tirelessly to bring lesser-known productions to the stage and provided dozens of rising stars with invaluable performance opportunities.
 
Steinway Artist Jerry Wong’s playing has been described by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Martin Bernheimer as “eloquent” and having “sensitivity and a finely-honed sense of style”. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in such prestigious settings as the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, National Concert Hall of Taipei, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Opera City Hall in Tokyo, Severance Hall in Cleveland and Weill Recital Hall in New York City. His widely praised recordings can be found on the Albany Records, MOVE and MSR Classics labels. Wong has presented master classes throughout the United States in such noted institutions as Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Northwestern University and University of Michigan, as well as in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan. From 2003-2019, he was Professor of Piano at Kent State University in Ohio, where he also served on the faculty of the Kent Blossom Music Festival. In July of 2019, Wong relocated to Australia to join the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music as an Associate Professor of Piano and Head of Keyboard.
 
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 librettos by Gene Scheer. In addition to 10 full-length operas and numerous one-acts operas, Heggie has composed more than 300 art songs, as well as concertos, 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 2023/2024 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.

 
PROGRAM
JAKE HEGGIE (b.1961)
Text: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
 
THE FACES OF LOVE (1999)
I.          I shall not live in vain
II.          As well as Jesus?
III.         If you were coming in the Fall
IV.        It makes no difference abroad
V.         At last, to be identified!
 
NEWER EVERY DAY (2014)
I.          Silence
II.          I’m Nobody! Who are you?
III.         Fame
IV.        That I did always love
V.         Goodnight
 
HOW WELL I KNEW THE LIGHT (2000)
I.          Ample make this Bed
II.          The Sun kept setting
 
COULD IT BE MADNESS – THIS? (2020)
I.          The first Day’s Night had come
II.          I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
 
WINTER ROSES (2004)
I.          Two Birds – 2. The Robin
 
THE STARRY NIGHT (2001)
III.         Go thy great way!
VII.       I would not paint – a picture –
 
ON THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS (1996)
V.         The Road to Bethlehem
 
THE ROSE DID CAPER ON HER CHEEK (2020)
I.          The Rose did caper on her cheek
 

Recorded on 31 March, 1 April, 12-13 May 2021 in the Iwaki Auditorium of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Melbourne, Australia. Produced by Victoria Lambourn. Recording and mastering engineer: Jack Montgomery-Parkes.

Music Publishers: Bent Pen Music and Associated Music Publishers.

 



MSR Classics
GLASS CEILINGS
GLASS CEILINGS
Song Cycles of Jake Heggie MELISSA DAVIS

[MS1783]