An Introduction to It's a Wonderful Life

A new holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life tells an emotional story of a man finding his worth amongst those who love them – a tale of purely wholesome joy. If you’re a fan of a Christmas film, we think you’ll love It’s a Wonderful Life.

Read up on Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s festive opera before our 2022/23 Season production.

With tickets starting from just £10, book yours now for Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life at the London Coliseum from 25 November – 10 December 2022.

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Based on the 1946 film by Frank Capra, return to the sleepy town of Bedford Falls, where banker George Bailey has fallen on tough times. With his company potentially on the brink of collapse, George is ready to end it all, and has a bridge in mind.

When he arrives though, he’s met by a guardian angel, in the literal sense. Confronted with the positive impact he’s had on his hometown, suddenly George is aware of just how much good he’s done in his life: and maybe, just maybe, life would be a little less wonderful without him in it. 

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Unlike its film counterpart, the operatic version of It’s a Wonderful Life has a few differences, most key of which is Clarence becoming Clara, the angel assigned to the protagonist of our tale. This gender-swap to a soprano role will be played by Danielle de Niese in our upcoming production, set to bring an angelic voice to our Angel Second-Class

Despite this, Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s version is remarkably faithful to the beloved movie, making for a nostalgic trip to Bedford Falls as you’ve never had before. 

Contemporary composer Jake Heggie is known as one of modern opera’s most exciting composers, with a beloved opera Dead Man Walking being perhaps foremost in his output, focussing on the story of Sister Helen Prejean, a nun who spiritually supports a convicted killer as he awaits execution on death row. 

Describing himself was a composer who is concerned with ‘exploring character’, it’s clear why the nuanced tale of George Bailey appealed to Heggie, wherein the banker’s emotional turmoil is at the heart of the plot, and key to the music. 

Book your tickets now for Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life, at the London Coliseum from 25 November – 10 December 2022