Jacqueline: A Portrait of Virtuosity

An Opera for Soprano and Cello

Music by LUNA PEARL WOOLF | Libretto by ROYCE VAVREK

Created for MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE, soprano

and

MATT HAIMOVITZ, cello

Jacqueline was premiered by TAPESTRY OPERA in Toronto, ON, February 19-23, 2020.

Dramaturgy and Direction by MICHAEL HIDETOSHI MORI
Design by CAMELLIA KOO

NEWS: Jacqueline premiere nominated for FIVE
DORA AWARDS

MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE WINS FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN INDIVIDUAL

WINNER – Outstanding Performance by an Individual –  Marnie Breckenridge
Outstanding Performance by an Individual – Matt Haimovitz
Outstanding New Opera – Royce Vavrek, Luna Pearl Woolf
Outstanding Design: Scenic – Camellia Koo 
Outstanding Production (Opera) – Tapestry Opera

Jacqueline  is a powerful opera for virtuosic cellist and soprano, exploring the talent and tragedy of Jacqueline du Pré and her relationship with her cello. The opera animates the struggle of du Pré’s changing identity as the one thing that most defined her is cut away by Multiple Sclerosis. Brought to life by two contemporary virtuosi, celebrated American soprano Marnie Breckenridge plays Jacqueline, and former du Pré protégé and world renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz plays her constant companion, her cello.

Inspired by the structure and emotional landscape of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto, composer Luna Pearl Woolf and Librettist Royce Vavrek create an intense two-hander, told in thematically linked fragments, charting a course of great prodigy and great tragedy. Drawing on the myth of Samson, the biblical hero whose supernatural strength was shorn from him at the height of his powers, as well as Haimovitz’s and others’ personal recollections of du Pre, the form of the work echoes du Pre’s iconic interpretation of the Elgar, using the concerto’s four-movement structure to navigate a prismatic and passionate, if all too short, life in music.

Circa 90 minutes. Published by Oxingale Music.

“Jacqueline is the thrilling result of real simplicity…stripping away the inessential to reveal a moving story free from ego.”

The Globe and Mail

Highlights from the February 2020 premiere of Jacqueline with Tapestry Opera in Toronto, ON

Praise for Jacqueline

“The music, both vocal and instrumental, is gorgeous and sometimes startling in its layering and detail, echoing the same experimental nature of the libretto and the whole approach of the production.”

The Whole Note 

“A harrowing, darkly humorous, and emotionally sensitive exploration of what it means to have a singular talent unravel, Jacqueline  journeys through the life and trials of one of classical music’s greatest figures.”

Stage-Door.com

“A brilliant, wrenching chamber work…flings us headfirst body and soul into the centre of towering virtuosity and pain that was and always will be du Pré…Jacqueline is a profoundly moving opera, one that shreds the emotions…”

Opera Going Toronto

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

The music of composer Luna Pearl Woolf has been praised for its “psychological nuances and emotional depth,” by The New York Times. Her dramatic and lyrical works have been commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Washington National Opera, among others, collaborating with such artists as Joyce DiDonato, Frederica von Stade, Sanford Sylvan, Peter Tantsits, Brentano String Quartet, Julian Wachner, Matt Haimovitz, Christopher O’Riley, Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons and bestselling author Cornelia Funke. Woolf is a recipient of Opera America’s Discovery Grant, and is the inaugural composer- in-residence at Bard Music West this season. Her works are recorded on PENTATONE and Oxingale; www. lunapearlwoolf.com

Royce Vavrek has been called “the indie Hofmannsthal(The New Yorker), a “Metastasio of the downtown opera scene(The Washington Post), and “an exemplary creator of operatic prose(The New York Times).  His notable lyrics/libretti include JFK, Dog Days and Am I Born with David T. Little; 27 with Ricky Ian Gordon; Song from the Uproar and Breaking the Waves with Missy Mazzoli; Angel’s Bone with Du Yun; O Columbia with Gregory Spears; and The Hubble Cantata with Paola Prestini. Royce is Co-Artistic Director with soprano Lauren Worsham of the opera-theater company The Coterie, and an alumnus of Concordia University (Montreal), the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at NYU, and American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program.

Marnie Breckenridge is captivating international audiences in a diverse range of roles from the Baroque to Modern. Her “commanding voice with a splendid high register” (Opera News) and “lyrical poignancy and dramatic power…a young Meryl Streep” (Chicago Tribune) lend her “lovely soprano voice” (NY Times) to passionate interpretations. Several of her favorite contemporary works include: Mother in DOG DAYS by David T. Little (LA Opera, Ft. Worth, Prototype), Ruth in Luna Pearl Woolf’s, THE PILLAR (Washington Chorus), Sierva Maria in Peter Eötvös’s LOVE AND OTHER DEMONS (Glyndebourne), La Princesse in Philip Glass’ ORPHÉE, title role in Milhaud’s MÉDÉE (Opera Parallèle), and as Cunegonde in CANDIDE (English National Opera). www.marniebreckenridge.com

Matt Haimovitz is praised by The New York Times as a “ferociously talented cellist who brings his uncommon expressive gifts to a vast variety of styles” and by The New Yorker as “remarkable virtuoso” who “never turns in a predictable performance.” Since his debut with the Israel Philharmonic at age 13, he has inspired audiences everywhere from Carnegie Hall to rock clubs. Haimovitz’s recordings include 20 years on Deutsche Grammophon and his and composer Luna Pearl Woolf’s Oxingale Records, now in collaboration with PENTATONE. Recent acclaimed recordings include music by Bach, Beethoven, John McLaughlin, and Arcade Fire. Matt’s current season includes stops in Tokyo, Montreal, New York, and Berlin, among other cities. www.matthaimovitz.com

Michael Hidetoshi Mori is an American and Canadian stage director, and the Artistic Director of Tapestry Opera in Toronto, Canada. His most recent major directorial projects include the world premiere of Brian Finley and Agnes Herzberg’s The Pencil Salesman at the Westben Festival, the world premiere of Gareth Williams and Anna Chatterton’s Rocking Horse Winner for Tapestry Opera, and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera. During his tenure at Tapestry, Michael created Tapestry Explorations (Tap:Ex), an annual mixed media concert experience that collides opera with other artistic forms. The series has experimented with fully choreographed art-music (Revolutions), synthesizing cut-film, track, turn-table, live soprano and percussion (Tables-Turned), and a new collaboration with punk band Fu*ked Up (Metallurgy) receiving rave reviews from Vice and The Globe and Mail, and earning Tapestry and Michael the honour of being among the CBC’s top ten artists reshaping the landscape of the arts in Canada. www.michaelmori.ca

Workshopping Jacqueline