“Songs and Sonnets to Ophelia” by Jake Heggie
Katherine Bruton, soprano, with Sarah Jenks, piano

This song cycle traces Hamlet‘s Ophelia and her year-long journey from innocence to passion and, eventually, madness.

This first piece in the cycle shows Ophelia’s innocence and joy at the coming of spring. However, this piece briefly foreshadows her fate.


In the second piece of the cycle, Heggie uses poetry by American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay to explore the assertive, passionate, and overtly sexual parts of Ophelia’s nature as a woman.

In the fourth and final piece, Ophelia’s madness becomes evident – but is she truly mad? Or has she merely come to terms with her life and nearly helpless role as a woman in this time period?

Katherine Bruton as Le feu (The Fire) from Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells).  This 2015 production was set in a 1950s women’s prison.

Piano: Mark Robson
Recorded by Cody Morgan (Gateway Music Studios)

“Carnevale di Venezia” is a an art song (a classical piece that isn’t part of a larger opera) by Sir Julius Benedict.  In this piece, she flirtatiously sings of love along the canals of Venice.
Piano: Judith Hansen

“S podrujkami po jagodu xodit” (“To go with friends berry-picking”) is the first aria that the Snow Maiden sings in Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden).  In this aria, she begs her father, Father Winter, to let her leave their isolated cave and live among the village girls (and so she can see Lel, the handsome boy she likes).  If her father won’t allow her to leave, the Snow Maiden’s life is not worth living!

Piano: Judith Hansen

“Clown in the Moon” is the second song in the cycle Personal Weather by Pin Hsin Lin.  This recording is of the West Coast premiere of Personal Weather, which is a cycle based on the poetry of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
This recording also features composer Howard Chen on the piano (hear some of his own compositional works here!).