Last Acts

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Last Acts is a chamber opera in two acts by Jake Heggie to a libretto by Gene Scheer which is based on the unpublished play Some Christmas Letters by Terrence McNally. Created with a role for Frederica von Stade, the work premiered on 29 February 2008 at the Houston Grand Opera (HGO). It commissioned the work in association with the San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances.

Last Acts was the working title; future performances will be under the title Three Decembers. It was performed under that title at The San Francisco Opera in December 2008.[1]


The three parts of the opera are set in the month of December in the years 1986, 1996 and 2006.

From the HGO press release: "Last Acts is the story of a famous actress, Madeline, and her two adult children as they struggle to know and love each other. It is the universal story about the family we wish for and the family we wind up with."


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 29 February 2008
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Madeline (Maddie),
a famous actress
mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade
Madeline's son
baritone Keith Phares
Beatrice (Bea),
Madeline's daughter
soprano Kristin Clayton
Pianists Patrick Summers
Jake Heggie
Director/Scenic Designer Leonard Foglia
Lighting Designer Brian Nason
Costume design Cesar Galindo


  1. ^ "Three Decembers (Last Acts)". San Francisco Opera. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  (includes synopsis)