Three Decembers


Join us for the DC-AREA PREMIERE of

Jake Heggie’s beautiful opera Three Decembers!

Three Decembers chronicles three decades in the lives of a Broadway diva and her adult son and daughter.  With a luminous score by composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking) and a poignant and witty libretto by Gene Scheer, Three Decembers is a “modern masterpiece” (Opera Today).


Saturday, September 27 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 at 2 p.m.
Friday, October 3 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 4 at 8 p.m.

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at Artisphere

Music by Jake Heggie

Libretto by Gene Scheer after Terrence McNally

” . . . a touchingly intimate exploration of family dynamics . . . immediately engaging and constantly energetic; Heggie fears neither dissonance nor lyricism, and the frequent pungency in his writing gives way to a sheer beauty.” – Front Row/D Magazine (Dallas)

” . . . this approachable, ultimately uplifting story of aging Broadway actress Madeline and her two adult children, Charlie and Beatrice, who struggle to come to terms with each other’s lives and the tough challenges each has faced, is achingly human and real.” – The Denver Post


Janice Hall, Emily Pulley and Michael Mayes

Directed by Michael McConnell
Conducted by Robert Wood

Featuring the INSCAPE Chamber Orchestra

Set and Costume Design by Greg Stevens

Lighting Design by Joseph R. Walls

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$28 regular price
$25 seniors, students and military

Click on the above link to be taken directly to Artisphere’s ticketing website, where you can order easily online. Or, if you would prefer, call (888) 841-2787 to order tickets by phone.

PLEASE contact us at UrbanArias if you have any problems with ticketing.

BE ADVISED: The theater seats only 110 people, and we often sell out. Please book in advance!

An Audience Talk-Back follows every performance. Ten minutes after the show, please feel free to join us again in the theater for Q&A with the cast and conductor.


Janice HallCalled “a great character actress” in the LA Times for her work in the operatic version of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America, Janice Hall is equally comfortable in the worlds of opera, theater, and cabaret. After living in Europe for many years, Janice returned to the U.S. in 2007. She made her off-Broadway debut in 2012, in Urban Stages’ production of My Occasion of Sin.

Janice Hall’s international opera career has taken her to the Vienna State Opera; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Salzburg Festival, and the Komische Oper Berlin. In the U.S., she has appeared with, among others, the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center; the Santa Fe Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. She performed as Violetta in the New York City Opera’s Emmy-winning telecast of La Traviata, directed by legendary soprano Renata Scotto, in the “Live from Lincoln Center” series on PBS. Her operatic repertoire has included roles as diverse as Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and Richard Strauss’s Salome, and she has worked with some of the world’s great directors, including Jack O’Brien, Harry Kupfer, Willy Decker, and Calixto Bieito. Janice is now specializing in contemporary opera, including Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, and the world premiere of Jorge Martin’s Before Night Falls.

In November, 2010, Janice unveiled her first New York solo cabaret show, Grand Illusions: The Music of Marlene Dietrich, at the Metropolitan Room. Critic Roy Sander wrote: “Some of her interpretations achieve a status beyond merely wonderful; they are memorable, unique, standards against which other renditions should be compared… I realized that I was responding to three forces: the enduring power of Dietrich, the strength of Hall’s performance, and the brilliance of this show and all of its elements.” For her work in Grand Illusions, Janice received a 2011 Bistro Award, and the 2012 MAC Award for Female Vocalist.

Famed soprano Emily Pulley, known for her radiant voice and electrifying acting, have won her both national and international acclaim on the operatic stages. As Minnie in La fanciulla del West with Glimmerglass Opera, “she shone as Minnie, the pistol-packing, soft-hearted heroine of La Fanciulla del West, capturing the crowd with burnished sound and straightforward, unaffected acting.” New York Magazine proclaimed, “Emily Pulley explores most every facet of this volatile character with a useful soprano that can deliver a power punch as well as a caressing phrase, and she gives a compelling performance.” As the Governess in The Turn of the Screw with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera News exclaimed, “Emily Pulley was outstanding as the embattled Governess. The role fits Pulley’s voice like a glove, and she captured the psychological complexity and heartbroken innocence of one of Britten’s great tragic characters.”

Last summer, Emily made her role debut as Georgetta in Il Tabarro for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and returned to Central City Opera as Julie in Showboat. Last season she appeared as two famous literary heroines, Ibsen’s Nora and Carroll’s Alice in UrbanArias’ production of She, After, reprised the role of Minnie in La Fanciulla del West with Eugene Opera, and joined the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Shostakovich’s The Nose.

baritone Michael MayesWith a “powerful” voice and an “arresting stage presence”, baritone Michael Mayes is known for his consummate portrayals of iconic characters in the operatic repertoire. Originally from Cut and Shoot, Texas, Michael has performed with opera companies across the United States including Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Central City Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and Fort Worth Opera. In the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Mayes debuted the role of Rigoletto with Boston Lyric to critical acclaim. Additionally, he debuted with the Gotham Chamber Opera in Baden-Baden 1927, Madison Opera in Dead Man Walking, and returned to Pensacola Opera as Escamillo in Carmen. He will tackle the role of Joseph De Rocher once again in his return to Central City Opera in the summer of 2014 and will create the role of Adam in The Canticle of the Black Madonna with Anima Mundi Productions. Upcoming engagements for the 2014-2015 season include Charlie in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers with UrbanArias, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Syracuse, a return to Michigan Opera Theater for his role debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and a reprise of his acclaimed Joseph De Rocher with Opera Parallèle in San Francisco.

In the 2012-2013 season, Mr. Mayes reprised his critically acclaimed Joseph De Rocher for Eugene Opera. Additionally he appeared with UrbanArias in Photo-Op, sang Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus for Opera on the James, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Pensacola Opera, Don Giovanni with the Green Mountain Opera Festival, and returned to Ft. Worth Opera as Elder Thompson in Glory Denied.

Stage Director Michael McConnell’s assignments have spanned the lyric theater repertoire from Monteverdi and Handel to Luciano Chailly and Libby Larsen in well over 100 productions mounted by numerous regional companies including the Skylight Opera Theatre, Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Memphis, Dayton Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera San José and Lyric Opera Cleveland where he was Executive Director for ten years; as well as at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Florida State University, Eastman School of Music, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, the University of Tennessee and The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was Director of Opera.

As a music journalist, he has written numerous articles and reviews for OPERA NEWS, THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER and OPERA America. His dozen or so complete sets of English supertitles plus English performing versions of The Magic Flute and Carmen have seen frequent use by numerous regional and university opera companies.

Robert WoodConductor Robert Wood made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 2004 with Verdi’s La traviata. He recently conducted Die Fledermaus at Hawaii Opera Theater, The Magic Flute at The University of Maryland, and Roméo et Juliette and Carmen at Opera Colorado.

Mr. Wood founded UrbanArias in 2010, and has conducted Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers, Conrad Cummings’ Positions 1956 and Photo-Op, Peter Hilliard and Matt Boresi’s The Filthy Habit, Thomas Pasatieri’s Before Breakfast, and Gregory Spears’ Paul’s Case for the company.

Mr. Wood was appointed Conductor in Residence at the Minnesota Opera from 2006-2008, leading productions of L’italiana in Algeri, Le nozze di Figaro, La donna del lago, Rusalka, and Il barbiere di Siviglia. Mr. Wood has also conducted a concert featuring Stephanie Blythe and Lawrence Brownlee for San Francisco Opera, L’italiana in Algeri at Vancouver Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Hawaii Opera Theater, The Love for Three Oranges at Indiana University Opera Theater, La cenerentola at New Jersey Opera Theater, Lakmé at Minnesota Opera, and The Nutcracker for San Francisco Ballet. Mr. Wood’s collaborations with the Wolf Trap Opera Company include Le Comte Ory and Die Zauberflöte. Other conducting engagements include H.M.S. Pinafore with the Indiana University Opera, and a recording for ODC Dance in San Francisco of Jack Perla’s On a Train Headed South. He returned to the San Francisco Opera in the summer of 2011 to conduct the Merola Opera Program’s concert of extended scenes.

Mr. Wood spent many years on the staff of San Francisco Opera where he led performances of La traviata and L’italiana in Algeri, and assisted productions of La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Carlos, Hansel and Gretel, The Merry Widow, and Tosca. He has also appeared as conductor for many productions with Opera San José including Tosca, Faust, Manon, Carmen, L’elisir d’amore, Rigoletto and La bohème, and as guest conductor with the San José Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Wood held the position of Chorus Master at The Santa Fe opera from 2001 to 2004, and received critical acclaim for the choral contribution to the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Madame Mao, and the American premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin.

Mr. Wood was a 1998 Merola Opera Program and Western Opera Theater participant, and spent several years in Vienna studying voice and singing in the Arnold Schönberg Chor.

Set and Costume Designer Greg Stevens has directed, designed, built and/or painted over 150 shows in the last 25 years. For In Series, Greg co-wrote, co-directed and designed the world premiere of The Cole Porter Project, designed Fatal Song, directed and designed Carousel Latino, Latino Cabaret and Debussy Tribute Salon, and designed La Clemenza di Tito, Carmen, The Magic Flute, Fascinating Rhythm and several zarzuelas. Greg is a founding company member of Helen Hayes Award-winning Factory 449: a theatre collective, where he designed The Amish Project, The Saint Plays and 4.48 Psychosis. Greg has also designed for WSC and Ganymede Arts/Actors Theatre of Washington. He holds a BA in Theatre from San Diego State University and an MAT in Museum Education from The George Washington University. Greg directs the American Alliance of Museums professional development program. He is co-editor of A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career (2012, The AAM Press).

Lighting Designer Joseph R. Walls most recently designed Venus in Fur at Rep Stage. He has also designed a number of productions for GALA including Cancún, La Casa De Los Espíritus, and DC 7: The Roberto Clemente Story. Joseph has traveled to Panama the last two years to work for the National Theatre of Panama and the Academia De Danzas STEPS designing Shrek, The Musical, La Historia De Hansel y Gretel, La Bella Durmiente, and La Princesa y El Sapo. Joseph has also designed for several local companies, including Constellation Theatre Company, Factory 449: a theatre collective, WSC Avant Bard and Single Carrot. Joseph has been the Lighting Supervisor for The Washington Ballet and was the Resident Lighting Designer for The Charlotte ballet(NCDT) at the Chautauqua Institution.