Jake Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters Joshua Hopkins & Jake Heggie

Cover Jake Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters

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  • Jake Heggie (b. 1961):
  • 1Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters (Version for Voice & Piano): No. 1, Empty Chair - No. 2, Enchantment03:55
  • 2Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters (Version for Voice & Piano): No. 3, Anger03:46
  • 3Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters (Version for Voice & Piano): No. 4, Dream03:47
  • 4Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters (Version for Voice & Piano): No. 5, Bird Soul04:05
  • 5Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters (Version for Voice & Piano): No. 6, Lost03:48
  • 6Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters (Version for Voice & Piano): No. 7, Rage04:40
  • 7Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters (Version for Voice & Piano): No. 8, Coda (Song)03:18
  • Total Runtime27:19

Info for Jake Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters

Following the murder of his sister in 2015, acclaimed Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins set out on a journey to use his personal and professional voice to wake people up to the global epidemic of violence against women. His call to action inspired the great Canadian author Margaret Atwood to write Songs for Murdered Sisters, a brilliant set of eight poems that American composer Jake Heggie then set to music. In this 27-minute song cycle, a devastated wanderer attempts to find meaning and answers within a landscape of love, loss, grief, anger, rage and possible redemption.

Five years ago, Joshua Hopkins’s life changed forever when his sister Nathalie, along with two other women, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in a spree that is now considered one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Canadian history. In his grief, Hopkins conceived of this song cycle. Co-commissioned by HGO with Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra, with music by Jake Heggie set to poetry by Margaret Atwood, this powerful new work, directed by James Niebuhr, is Hopkins’s way of honoring his sister’s memory and speaking out against domestic violence.

Songs for Murdered Sisters is dedicated to the memory of Nathalie, Carol, & Anastasia and Pat Lowther & Debbie Rottman.

Joshua Hopkins, baritone
Jake Heggie, piano

Joshua Hopkins
Known as one of the finest singer-actors of his generation, Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins has been hailed as having “…a glistening, malleable baritone of exceptional beauty, and…the technique to exploit its full range of expressive possibilities from comic bluster to melting beauty.” (Opera Today)

Having established himself as a prominent leading artist throughout the United States and Canada, Joshua appears regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera amongst many others, and has performed under the baton of renowned conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis, Matthew Halls, James Gaffigan, Yannick Nézet–Séguin, Plácido Domingo and Hans Graf.

In the 2020-2021 season, Mr. Hopkins makes his house debut at Palm Beach Opera as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and Silvio in Pagliacci. He was also scheduled to return to the Metropolitan Opera as the title role in Billy Budd, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, as well as to Houston Grand Opera as Albert in Werther. On the concert stage, he premieres Songs for Murdered Sisters – a collaboration between composer Jake Heggie and author Margaret Atwood, personally conceived by Mr. Hopkins in remembrance of his sister, Nathalie Warmerdam – on tour at Stanford Live, Vocal Arts DC, and Koerner Hall in Toronto. This powerful new work will be premiered by Houston Grand Opera in a film presentation directed by James Niebuhr, on the Marquee TV platform. Pentatone will release the commercial recording of the new work.

In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Hopkins made his house debut at Opéra de Rouen Normandie as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, made his role debut as Athanaël in a concert version of Thaïs with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and recorded for Chandos Records, returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Papageno in its English-language adaptation of The Magic Flute, and created the role of Orpheus in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice at LA Opera. He was also scheduled to sing Albert at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Yannick Nézet–Séguin, and perform Figaro at Santa Fe Opera.

The 2018-2019 season featured Mr. Hopkins’s San Francisco Opera debut as Harry Bailey in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life. He also reprised the role of Valentin in Faust at Washington National Opera, and made role debuts as Malatesta in Don Pasquale at Pittsburgh Opera and the title role in Billy Budd at Central City Opera. Concert engagements included Handel’s Messiah with both the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jane Glover and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Matthew Halls, as well as Haydn’s Creation with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Operatic highlights of recent seasons include performances as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro at the Glyndebourne Festival, Verbier Festival, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Washington National Opera; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Norwegian National Opera, and Opera Lyra Ottawa; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at Lyric Opera of Chicago and his company debut at Oper Frankfurt; Papageno at Canadian Opera Company, Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, and Arizona Opera; Marcello in La bohème at Canadian Opera Company and Houston Grand Opera; and Mercutio at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Plácido Domingo.

Additional highlights of past seasons include Mr. Hopkins’s Metropolitan Opera debut as Ping in Turandot, conducted by Andris Nelsons, a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Cecil in Sir David McVicar’s new production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, conducted by Maurizio Benini, his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Tadeusz in Weinberg’s The Passenger, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis in an acclaimed production by David Pountney, his role debut as the title character in Don Giovanni with Utah Opera, and his Dutch National Opera debut creating the leading role of Niccolò Machiavelli in the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz and David Ignatius’s The New Prince. Further highlights include performances as Junior in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place with New York City Opera, Sid in Britten’s Albert Herring under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis and Dr. Falke in a new production of Die Fledermaus at Santa Fe Opera, and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He returned to Houston Grand Opera as Valentin in Faust, and originated the role of Harry Bailey in the world premiere of It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Leonard Foglia and conducted by Patrick Summers, recorded by Pentatone.

Past concert engagements include his European concert debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, performing Peter Lieberson’s beautiful and poignant Songs of Love and Sorrow, Bach’s Magnificat with Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the baton of Robert Spano at Carnegie Hall, and both Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 and Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Alan Gilbert. Mr. Hopkins toured North America with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy offering performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah in Quebec, Montreal, Los Angeles, and at Carnegie Hall in New York. He has also performed and recorded Bach’s St. John Passion with the Portland Baroque Orchestra and Arion Orchestre Baroque. He has performed the Messiah with many symphonies across North America, including the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra. Additional highlights of his concert schedule include performances of Grieg’s Peer Gynt in his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum with the San Francisco Symphony, Die Zauberflöte with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra led by Bernard Labadie, and Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, and later at Baldwin Wallace University’s 85th Bach Festival.

Profoundly committed to the art of song, Mr. Hopkins’s first recital disc, Let Beauty Awake, features songs of Barber, Bowles, Glick, and Vaughan Williams on the ATMA Classique label. He has given recitals in Chicago, Montreal, New York, Santa Fe, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, D.C. Highlights of his varied appearances at Carnegie Hall include the world premiere of Michael Tilson Thomas’s Rilke Songs and a concert highlighting Benjamin Britten alongside tenor Ian Bostridge and counter-tenor Iestyn Davies. Mr. Hopkins has also collaborated with pianists Julius Drake, Richard Goode, Marc-André Hamelin, Graham Johnson, and Warren Jones.

Mr. Hopkins has won numerous awards and distinctions. He was the winner of both the Verbier Festival Academy’s 2008 Prix d’Honneur and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2006. He was also a prizewinner at the prestigious 2006 ARD Musikwettbewerb in Munich and the 2005 Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition held in Madrid. In 2002, José Carreras presented him with the first place prize in the Julián Gayarre International Singing Competition in Pamplona. Mr. Hopkins has also received prizes from the George London Foundation and the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation, and won the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Jake Heggie
is the American composer of the operas Dead Man Walking (libretto by Terrence McNally), Moby-Dick (libretto by Gene Scheer), It’s A Wonderful Life (Scheer), If I Were You (Scheer), Great Scott (McNally), Three Decembers (Scheer), For a Look or a Touch (Scheer) and Two Remain (Scheer), among others. In addition to eight full-length operas and several one-acts, Heggie has composed nearly 300 art songs, as well as concerti, chamber music, choral and orchestral works. He recently completed and recorded Songs for Murdered Sisters, a song cycle based on new poems by Margaret Atwood, created for baritone Joshua Hopkins and commissioned by Houston Grand Opera. Earlier this year, he completed INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope (texts by Gene Scheer), a dramatic song cycle featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Daniel Hope, recorded live for Pentatone. The label recently released a new all-Heggie recording titled Unexpected Shadows, featuring mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and cellist Matt Haimovitz. Heggie is currently at work with Gene Scheer on a new opera for the Houston Grand Opera titled Intelligence.

Heggie’s operas – most created with Gene Scheer or the late Terrence McNally – have been produced on five continents. In 2019, Dead Man Walking received its 70th international production at the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, the first American opera to be produced by that company. New York’s Metropolitan Opera has announced Dead Man Walking for a future season in a bold new production by director Ivo van Hove, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000, Dead Man Walking has been recorded live twice and performed more than 300 times, making it the most-performed American opera of the 21st Century. In addition to major productions throughout the USA, Dead Man Walking has been seen in Dresden, Vienna, London, Madrid, Sydney, Adelaide, Calgary, Montreal, Cape Town, Dublin, Copenhagen, and Malmö. Moby-Dick has received 12 international productions since its 2010 premiere at The Dallas Opera; San Francisco Opera’s production was telecast as part of Great Performances’ 40th anniversary season and released on DVD (EuroArts). It is also the subject of a book by Robert Wallace, titled Heggie & Scheer’s Moby-Dick – A Grand opera for the 21st Century (UNT Press). Three Decembers, Heggie & Scheer’s three-character chamber opera, has received 30 international productions and was recently recorded by Opera San Jose in a new production starring Susan Graham. A Guggenheim Fellow, Heggie has also served as a mentor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative and CU Boulder’s New Opera Workshop. In 2016, he was awarded the Eddie Medora King Prize by the UT Austin Butler School of Music. He was also the recipient of the Champion Award from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus in a private concert that featured a performance by the great Patti LuPone. Heggie was the keynote speaker for the 2016 meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in Dallas and has given commencement addresses at the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music. He is a frequent guest artist and master teacher at universities and conservatories, including Boston University, Bucknell, Cincinnati Conservatory, Cornell, Eastman, CU Boulder, Northwestern, Peabody Conservatory, Roosevelt, The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, San Diego State, UNI, UNT, UT Austin, USC’s Thornton School, Vanderbilt University, and at festivals such as SongFest at the Colburn School.

Jake Heggie has collaborated as composer and pianist with some of the world’s most loved singers, including sopranos Kiri Te Kanawa, Renée Fleming, Ailyn Pérez, Heidi Stober, Golda Schultz, Karen Slack, Talise Trevigne, Ann Moss, Caitlin Lynch and Lisa Delan; mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Jamie Barton, J’Nai Bridges, Suzanne Mentzer, Joyce Castle, Elise Quagliata, Maria Zifchak, Catherine Cook and Sasha Cooke; Broadway stars Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald; tenors Ben Heppner, William Burden, Stephen Costello, Jay Hunter Morris, Paul Groves, Nick Phan and Jonathan Blalock; baritones Keith Phares, Joshua Hopkins, Morgan Smith, Rod Gilfry, Bryn Terfel and Michael Mayes. He has also worked closely with extraordinary instrumentalists such as flutists Carol Wincenc and Lorna McGhee; violinists Daniel Hope, Leila Josefowicz, Aloysia Friedmann and Dawn Harms; cellists Matt Haimowitz, Emil Miland and Anne Martindale-Williams; pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Gustavo Romero; as well as the Miró Quartet, Brentano String Quartet and the Alexander String Quartet. Directors who have championed his work include Leonard Foglia, Joe Mantello, Francesca Zambello and Jack O’Brien. All of Heggie’s major opera premieres have been led by Patrick Summers; he has also worked closely with conductors John DeMain, Joseph Mechavich and Nicole Paiement.

Booklet for Jake Heggie: Songs for Murdered Sisters

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