Jake Heggie

Opera composer, Jake Heggie > UCLA Magazine

I was commissioned by Design Director, Charlie Hess, to photograph opera composer, Jake Heggie, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.  Charlie's directive was simple:  "Choose a location that contextualizes what he does".  I love that.


Jake Heggie was working at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco as a PR writer when, in one moment, his professional life changed forever.  The general director of the opera tapped him to compose a score for a libretto (the text of an opera) by playwright Terrence McNally.  That opera was the wildly successful Dead Man Walking.  He's currently working on the music for a new production of It's a Wonderful Life.

Jake was game for pretty much anything photographically.  He told me after checking out my website that he had total trust in me.  Always handy - that vote of confidence from your subject!  For this particular shot (above) he's actually listening to an original guitar composition of my own.  (Yes, I write and perform music.)  A second after this shot was taken he opened his eyes and said, "This is good".  Ha!


Pencil and paper.  Yes, there are still those of us from the old school.  Littered (in a good way) with notes, notating music by hand affords Heggie the freedom to be more spontaneous.  This is the lobby of the opera house, where a few thousand people walk up those steps to hear his music in the hall on a given night. 


Harking back to the days working behind the scenes.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com