“The score is beautiful – characteristically elegant, with enveloping orchestral passages, soaring solo flights and arresting duets, trios, and ensembles.”
THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
ABOUT THE OPERAThe End of the Affair (2004, rev 2005) is an opera in two acts with a libretto by playwright Heather McDonald based on the novel by Graham Green. Set in London during and just after World War II, the opera tells the story of Maurice Bendrix, a writer involved in an illicit love affair with Sarah Miles, the wife of a public servant.
Photo Brett Coomer
During one of their trysts, an air raid occurs; a bomb explodes that destroys the house and knocks Maurice unconscious. When he comes to, Sarah leaves abruptly and vows never to see him again. Obsessed, jealous and angry, Maurice sets upon a journey to discover what happened and why he was abandoned that day.
The book has also been adapted for two well-known films: the first starring Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson (1955), the second starring Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes (1999).
Commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera, the work received its premiere in March 2004. The opera was then extensively revised with additional libretto material by director Leonard Foglia and the composer. The revised opera was performed at the Madison Opera in 2005. Further revisions were made and the final version was produced at the Seattle Opera in 2005.
The original production was conducted by Patrick Summers and James Lowe. Directed by Leonard Foglia with sets by Michael McGarty, lighting by Donald Holder, and costumes by Jess Goldstein. The cast included Cheryl Barker (Sarah), Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Maurice), Peter Coleman Wright (Henry), Robert Orth (Parkis), Katherine Ciesinski (Mrs Bertram) and Joseph Evans (Smythe).
The End of the Affair has six roles, no chorus, and was originally orchestrated for 24 instruments: 1-1-1-1, 1-1-1-0, perc, harp, piano, strings (4-3-2-3-2) . For productions at larger houses, the string count has been expanded. The complete opera has never been recorded. In 2009, Cheryl Barker recorded a scene from Act Two with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor David Parry for Chandos.
Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera with Madison Opera and Opera Pacific.
Libretto by Heather McDonald.
Revised libretto by Heather McDonald, Leonard Foglia, and Jake Heggie.
Premiere: March 4, 2004 at the Cullen Theatre, Wortham Centre, Houston, TX.
ORIGINAL PRODUCTION TEAM
|Set Design||Michael McGarty|
|Maurice Bendrix||Teddy Tahu Rhodes|
|Mrs. Bertram||Katherine Ciesinski|
ORCHESTRATION: Original orchestration for chamber orchestra of 24 instruments (1-1-1-1, 1-1-1-0, perc, harp, pno, strings 4-3-2-3-2); also performed with larger string section.
Six singing roles (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, three baritones) and one non-singing role (nine-year old boy).
The End of the Affair was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera with Madison Opera and Opera Pacific.
1. Premiere: March 4, 2004 at the Cullen Theatre, Wortham Centre, Houston, TX.
Conductor: Patrick Summers. Director: Leonard Foglia. Sets: Michael McGarty. Costumes: Jess Goldstein. Lights: Donald Holder. Cast: Cheryl Barker (Sarah), Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Maurice Bendrix), Peter Coleman-Wright (Henry), Katherine Ciesinski (Mrs. Bertram), Joseph Evans (Smythe), Robert Orth (Parkis).
2. Apr. 2005 Madison Opera
Premiere of the revised version at Madison Opera. Cast included Victoria Litherland (Sarah), Keith Phares (Maurice), John Packard (Henry), Robert Orth (Parkis), conducted by John DeMain.
3. Oct. 2005 Seattle Opera
At Seattle Opera, 8 performances. Cast included Mary Mills and Dana Beth Miller (Sarah), Philip Cutlip (Maurice), Brett Polegato (Henry), Joyce Castle (Mrs. Bertram), Robert Orth (Parkis), Raymond Very (Smythe). Conducted by Yves Abel.
4. Apr. 2007 Lyric Opera of Kansas City
A new production at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. The cast included Emily Pulley (Sarah), Keith Phares (Maurice), Joyce Castle (Mrs. Bertram), and Robert Orth (Parkis). Ward Holmquist, conductor and Kristine McIntyre, director.
5. Aug. 2014 West Edge Opera, Oakland
At West Edge Opera in its Bay Area premiere. Carrie Hennessey, Keith Phares, Philip Skinner, Donna Olson, Mark Hernandez and Michael Jankosky. Conducted by Jonathan Khuner.
Soprano Cheryl Barker sings opera arias in English, including a scene from Jake’s The End of the Affair, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra led by David Parry.
THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, Georgia Rowe (August 4, 2014)
Bay Area opera lovers are finally getting their first look at Jake Heggie’s “The End of the Affair.”…What took so long?…Heggie’s score is beautiful — characteristically elegant, with enveloping orchestral passages, soaring solo flights and arresting duets, trios, and ensembles. Khuner, West Edge Opera’s music director since 1985, drew vibrant playing from his 24-piece orchestra, and the singers poured themselves into the performance.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Charlotte Kaiser (September 25, 2005)
Many singers love the music of Jake Heggie for the way his vocal lines lie for their voices; he is a very “singable” composer, and stars like Renée Fleming have recorded his songs. Mr. Heggie’s last opera, Dead Man Walking, about the death penalty, was also a popular success. His latest, The End of the Affair, is based on Graham Greene’s novel of religious faith and infidelity in 1940s London.
SEATTLE WEEKLY, Gavin Borchert (Oct 19-25, 2005)
Heggie’s orchestral writing has a deep, satisfying vividness and strength, painting and punctuating the drama with striking musical gestures (music you can actually remember 10 seconds later) and conjuring imaginative splashes of color … Heggie has a solid success on his hands.
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, R.M. Campbell (Oct 18, 2005)
“The End of the Affair,” given its West Coast premiere by Seattle Opera, is an opera of intimate scale, engrossing ideas and a comfortable musical palette. Its lyricism is frank and tender, even haunting on occasion.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Joshua Kosman (Oct 20, 2005)
…Heggie uses his gift for characterization and his command of dramatic counterpoint to bring life to the traditional opera subjects: the conflict of a love triangle or the emotional urgency of doubt or despair. His melodies arch in long, splendidly directed curlicues that sweep the listener along. The orchestra writing is sumptuous and resourceful, and some of the ensembles, including a Puccinian love duet to end Act 1, are bravura displays of transparency and intricacy.
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, John W. Barker (July/August 2005)
I reckon Heggie’s opera in this revised form to be a work of substance and appeal both dramatically and musically. I think it could well have a real future. What is clear is that Jake Heggie is by now a major figure on our opera scene.
THE HERALD, EVERETT, WA, Mike Murray (Oct 21, 2005)
Heggie’s music is a rich wall of sound that supports the divergent emotions of the characters. The music is accessible, and the influences of jazz and a snappy fox trot enliven a somber story.
ISTHMUS, John W. Barker (April 28, 2005)
Off now to Seattle, The End of the Affair has a promising future ahead. And Madison Opera has entered opera history by speeding the progress of Jake Heggie as a new master of opera.
WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, John Aehl (April 23, 2005)
“The End of the Affair,” a contemporary opera staged by Madison Opera Friday night in Overture Hall, is a brave, bold, professional production, with intriguingly complex and modern but tonal music, strong theatrical values in sets and lighting, excellent work by singers and orchestra, and an overall feel of high quality. The opera has moments of strong musical beauty. It also has several climatic moments of great impact. It captures the mystical tortured-souls nature of Greene’s novel.
HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Charles Ward (March 6, 2004)
Heggie’s score has more immediate appeal than that of “Dead Man Walking.” It sounds tonal enough to be comfortable but sufficiently complex to challenge complacent listening. Big solos and well-constructed ensembles give the singers plenty of opportunities to explore their characters thoroughly. … A 24-player chamber orchestra was the source of amazingly rapturous and voluptuous sounds throughout Thursday’s performance.
PUBLISHING & RIGHTS
Bill Holab Music is agent for the sales and rentals of the score to The End of the Affair.
Published by Bent Pen Music, Inc. (BMI)
For information on Grand Rights: Don Erik Franzen, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org.
One or more recordings have been made. (Here is a Search for them.) Score is available from Schirmer/Hal Leonard or Bill Holab Music. Sheet Music, Scores, Parts and Performance Materials are available from billholabmusic.com. Rental Sheet Music, Scores, Parts and Performance Materials are available from billholabmusic.com.