The Peabody Post

Composer Jake Heggie Residency Culminates in New Version of Opera

Jake Heggie.jpgComposer Jake Heggie completes a weeklong Peabody Chamber Opera residency with four performances of a new version of his Out of Darkness: Two Remain, February 8–11 at Theatre Project, 45 West Preston Street, Baltimore. The Wall Street Journal calls Heggie “arguably the world’s most popular 21st century opera and art song composer.” His opera, with a libretto by Gene Scheer based in part on the true stories of two Holocaust survivors, was commissioned by Music of Remembrance and received its world premiere in May 2016. Peabody’s production will be stage directed by Garnett Bruce with Eileen Cornett as music director and conductor.

Out of Darkness: Two Remain is based on the true stories of Krystyna Zywulska and Gad Beck as told through their own books and writings plus materials from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and interviews from the documentary film Paragraph 175 by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Late on a sleepless night, two Holocaust survivors are visited by the ghosts of their past; a past they have tried to outrun, rewrite, or forget since the war ended many years before. Symone Harcum will portray the role of Krystyna Zywulska, and Lorenzo Zapata will portray the role of Gad Beck. Supporting roles will be played by Emma Dickinson, Caitlin Duckworth, Jennifer Ann Mayer, Arianna Rodriguez, and Ross Tamaccio. All performers are master’s students except Zapata who is a junior.

Bruce noted that he’s been working with Heggie and Scheer to develop and tighten their original piece. Two scenes have been re-arranged, one climatic scene enlarged, and an additional character has been added to flesh out the story. Bruce says, “Peabody will play a pivotal role in focusing this opera for future presentations – the ultimate goal of the original commission. We should learn these stories, know these survivors so these atrocities are never repeated.”

Heggie’s residency will include rehearsals and conversations with the cast, a seminar with composition students, and a public master class for voice of Heggie works. The composer will attend the opening performance and will participate in Q&A following it.

Out of Darkness: Two Remain, will be presented at Theatre Project, 45 West Preston Street in Baltimore, Thursday through Saturday, February 8 through 10, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, February 11, at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. For tickets, call the Theatre Project Box Office at 410-752-8558 or visit

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