A long overdue premiere by one of contemporary music’s most popular figures. 

Little Opera Company (LOC) presents the Canadian premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s “Three Decembers.” 


Based on American playwright Terrence McNally’s original script, the 2008 opera explores the relationship between a famous broadway actress Madeline Mitchell (Kimberly Barber) and her estranged children, Charlie (Sheldon Baxter) and Bea (Lara Ciekiewicz). 

“It really is about the family dynamics between the three of them and how their lives are evolving — some not in a great way — and how they deal with it, and how they get through it,” says director Rob Herriot. 

Taking place over three decades (1986, 1996, 2006), the drama offers a snapshot of each character’s journey through life.

“For me, as I go through her journey through these decades, I keep seeing these moments in her of her really searching for her mom’s approval,” says Lara Ciekiewicz. ”Really wanting to be truly seen for just being her.”

Conducting from the keyboard will be music director Naomi Woo who relishes the opportunity to explore the nitty-gritty of human psyche. 

“What I always love about opera is the rehearsal process,” says Woo. 

Unlike in a symphonic performance, where a handful (if that) of rehearsals is the norm ahead of a concert, the gestation period of an opera production takes weeks. And this is the type of production that benefits from careful thought and exploration. 

“It’s a story in which the relationship between text and music is so beautifully and carefully thought out,” she says. 

Though in this particular case, LOC may have had a “little more time than we would have liked,”  jokes Woo. 

Originally scheduled for performance in 2020, the production was postponed to December 2021 before being bumped again.

Now, Winnipeg audiences have three opportunities at the end of May — May 27, 28 and 29 — to see “Three Decembers” at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. 

“Heggie is a genius,” proclaims Herriot. “He takes you down one road and then before you know it, you’re ensconced in this melody or ensemble or this texture of music that literally says something you didn’t have the words for.” 

For tickets and more details, visit: www.littleopera.ca 

As an added bonus, LOC has produced a series of highly entertaining and informative videos ahead of the premiere! Make sure to watch them all! 



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