Presented together for the first time as fully-staged chamber operas — these three song cycles by Jake Heggie share one common theme: the deep human desire for love and acceptance. Our wonderful cast will be joined by Jake Heggie at the piano for Act 1. 

Mark Foehringer, Director

Bryan Nies, Conductor

with members of the Festival Opera Orchestra


August 13, 2021 at 7:30 PM & August 15, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Hofmann Theatre - Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek

At the Statue of Venus

Libretto: Terrence McNally 

Rose: Carrie Hennessey

Pianist: Jake Heggie


Rose, a middle-aged woman anxiously awaits her blind date near a statue of Venus in a museum. While she waits, her thoughts and emotions are a jumble of hope, uncertainty, and self doubt. She fusses about her clothes, unsure of how she'll make this first impression, as she compares herself to other women in the museum. Will he like her? Will she like him? Why did she - a proudly successful modern woman - allow her friends to convince her that they had found a Mr. Right for her? She concludes, “Will I know him? Of course, I will. He’ll be a man I can laugh with and be myself with. He’ll be handsome which only means, when I look at him, my heart will swell. That’s all handsome is: happiness…”

Tickets Available Soon! 

Camille Claudel: Into the Fire

Libretto: Gene Scheer

Camille: Diana Tash


French sculptor Camille Claudel (1864-1943) was a genius in her own right, but was known only by association to a man: Auguste Rodin, the mighty sculptor who had been her mentor, teacher and lover. Shattered by their stormy and ill-fated love affair, and a career sabotaged at every turn, Claudel was committed to an asylum by the order of her own family. This song cycle takes place on the day she is taken away. As dawn breaks, Camille awakens to the strange reality of what is about to happen to her, and she addresses her sculptures.

For a Look or a Touch

Libretto: Gene Scheer

Manfred: Zachary Gordin

Gad: Curt Branom


This deeply-moving song cycle is a revealing examination of Nazi persecution of homosexuals. This important and timely work reflects on these historic realities as viewed through an intensely intimate lens. Manfred and Gad were lovers as teenagers in Berlin until Manfred and his family were taken and murdered by the Third Reich. Gad, in the present day, is visited one night by Manfred’s ghost. Gad wants only to forget the horrors he has lived through; Manfred wants only to be remembered, and for Gad to remember their powerful and timeless love.

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Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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