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HEGGIE, JAKE It’s a Wonderful Life. Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. Pentatone Classics 2SACDs

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Heggie Its A Wonderful Life Houston Opera Orchestra Pentatone 2Sacds

Jake Heggie
It’s a Wonderful Life


Houston Grand Opera Orchestra

CD1 Act I
1) Prelude (Orchestral) (2.15)
2) Christmas Eve: Clara in the Heavens (10.37)
3) Scene 1: George Bailey’s Childhood (8.41)
4) Scene 2: The Bailey Family Attic: Bedford Falls’ Aladdin (8.27)
5) Quartet: Goodbye Bedford Falls (5.14)
6) Scene 3: The High School Dance (4.06)
7) Scene 4: The Old Granville House: I’m Gonna See The World (6.31)
8) Scene 5: Mr. Potter’s Office: Wait and Save (6.26)
9) Scene 6: Mary & Harry at College: Four Years (3.40)
10) Scene 7: Harry’s Homecoming (6.38)
11) Duet: A Rainbow at Midnight (5.08)
12) Scene 8: Mary’s House: I’m Gonna Love You ‘Til The Day I Die (6.26)

CD2 ACT II
1) Scene 1: George & Mary’s Wedding Day (3.51)
2) Scene 2: The Bank Run of 1929 (5.38)
3) Scene 3: George & Mary’s Home: Changes and Blessings (4.32)
4) A Letter: Thank you, Mr Bailey (2.45)
5) Scene 4: Mr Potter’s Office: I want to hire you, George (5.18)
6) Scene 5: World War II: One Country, One Dream (4.14)
7) Scene 6: Christmas Eve: What a day! (1.20)
8) Scene 7: Uncle Billy Loses The Bank Deposit (4.20)
9) Scene 8: George & Mary’s Home: Zuzu’s Petals (5.10)
10) Scene 9: Mr. Potter’s Office: You’re Worth More Dead Than Alive (3.47)
11) Scene 10: The Bridge: I Wish I’d Never Been Born (5.07)
12) Scene 11: The World Without George Bailey (8.19)
13) Scene 12: George’s Homecoming: Christmas Morning (10.02)
14) Clara’s Wings: A Wonderful Life (1.27)
15) Auld Lang Syne (1.34)

Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer knew before they ever wrote a note or a line of It’s a Wonderful Life that there are challenges in adapting a treasured classic for the operatic stage. After all, Heggie and Scheer’s hit 2010 opera Moby-Dick raised the same challenges: how could they remain faithful to the source material and still create something new, which emphasized the story’s innate
operatic qualities?

For It’s a Wonderful Life, Heggie and Scheer responded by keeping the basic plot and characters from the beloved Frank Capra film
version but changing the perspective. But in a departure from the film, all the action takes place from Clara’s perspective and in her realm. Seventy mirrored doors represent portals in time and space, which Clara uses to piece together the events of George’s life in an effort to understand what has brought him to this moment of despair.

Critics said the “feel good” work (Opera Warhorses) “dispels any notion that you may have about expecting the opera to duplicate the film [and has a] crazy-quilt score that may be Heggie’s most delightful concoction” (Theater Jones). As the Houston Chronicle critic summed up, “George Bailey would be proud.”

Pentatone Classics 2SACDs PTC5186631

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