Music of Remembrance 2023-24 Season Features World Premiere of Jake Heggie & Gene Scheer’s ‘Before it All Goes Dark”

By Chris Ruel

Seattle, Washington-based Music of Remembrance (MOR) has unveiled its 2023-24 season, which remembers the victims of the Holocaust, and explores cultural vandalism with Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s new opera “Before it All Goes Dark.”

For this article, only vocal performances are listed.

MOR brings together three community organizations: University of Washington Chamber Orchestra, Northwest Boychoir, and Seattle Girls Choir to honor the millions of victims of the Holocaust. The free concert, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, will feature three recipients of MOR’s annual David Tonkonogui Memorial Award for young musicians who want to address human rights issues through their art.

Performance Date: Jan. 22, 2024, at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.

Iranian American composer-librettist team Sahba Aminikia and Zara Houshmand’s “Phoenix” will be given its world premiere in March. The work places the struggle for women’s rights in Iran at the forefront and is scored for voices representing three generations of Iranian women. Drawing inspiration from the legendary Phoenix, or “Qaqnus” in Iranian folklore, Aminikia and Houshmand see the future of the country’s people as one created via transformation and rebirth through fire.

The showcase also includes the world premiere of “The Golem,” featuring Spectrum Dance.

Performance Date: Mar. 10, 2024, at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.

The world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s new one-act opera, “Before it All Goes Dark,” tells the story of a disabled Vietnam veteran who inherits a priceless art collection from an unknown relative. The art, however, had been plundered by the Nazis during World War II. Heggie and Scheer’s work explores the effect of historical events on later generations and the relationship between art and identity.

“Before it All Goes Dark,” stars bass-baritone Ryan McKinny and mezzo-soprano Megan Marino. The presentation of the opera also opens the world premiere tour, which sees the work traveling to San Francisco and Chicago.

Performance Date: May 19, 2024, at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.