Gene Scheer

Librettist

Gene Scheer’s work is noted for its scope and versatility. In December of 2016 he and Jake Heggie premiered an operatic adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life for the Houston Grand Opera.

Currently for ENO: It’s a Wonderful Life

Career Highlights

Other works by Scheer and Heggie include Camille Claudel: Into the fire, a song cycle premiered by Joyce di Donato and the Alexander String Quartet. He worked as librettist with Tobias Picker on An American Tragedy, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005, and on Therese Raquin, which was produced by the Dallas Opera in 2001. Other collaborations include the lyrics for Wynton Marsalis’s It Never Goes Away, featured in Marsalis’s Congo Square. With the composer Steven Stucky, he wrote the oratorio August 4, 1964 for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The work was nominated for a Grammy in 2012 for best classical composition.

In 2015, he collaborated with Joby Talbot on the opera Everest, based on the doomed 1996 Everest expedition. With Jennifer Higdon, he wrote an operatic adaptation of Cold Mountain, which premiered in the summer of 2015 at the Santa Fe Opera. This work won the International Opera Award, presented in London, for the best world premiere in 2015. Recently, along with Jennifer Higdon, he was nominated for a Grammy for his work on Cold Mountain for best classical composition. In December of 2016 he and Jake Heggie premiered an operatic adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life for the Houston Grand Opera.

As a composer in his own right, he has written a number of songs for artists such as Renée Fleming, Sylvia McNair, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves, and Nathan Gunn. The distinguished documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, prominently featured Scheer’s song ‘American Anthem’ (as sung by Norah Jones) in his Emmy Award-winning World War II documentary for PBS entitled The War.

Awards and achievements: Along with Jennifer Higdon, he won the International Opera Award for the best world premiere with an operatic adaptation of Cold Mountain in 2015 and nominated for best classical composition.

Last updated: 10th November 2022

Current ENO Production