Songs on the album cover many genres and use texts from such various sources as Anne Sexton, Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson and the letters of Vincent van Gogh. Additionally, Gene Scheer, Sister Helen Prejean (whose experiences as a spiritual adviser to death row inmates served as the basis for the film and Heggie's opera, Dead Man Walking), and von Stade all wrote texts especially for the works on "Flesh & Stone."
Performers on the CD include mezzo-sopranos Zheng Cao, Joyce Castle, Mary Phillips and Frederica von Stade, as well as Eugenia Zukerman (flute), Carey Bell (clarinet), David Henderson (saxophone), Dawn Harms (violin), Emil Miland (cello), Richard Worn (bass) and the composer himself at the piano. The recording was made In January 2007 at Skywalker Sound's studios in northern California.
Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 to help fund domestic AIDS-related services. It has distributed more than $7 million to AIDS-related organizations nationwide, raising money through special events, private house concerts, recording and merchandising projects, and individual donations, in addition to foundation and corporate support.
Heggie has drawn acclaim for his operas Dead Man Walking (2000), The End of the Affair (2004), and To Hell and Back (2006). Last Acts, his latest stage work, written for von Stade, will receive its world premiere at Houston Grand Opera in February 2008.
The East Coast release of "Flesh & Stone" is set for October 15 in Manhattan. Castle and Phillips, along with Heggie, Zukerman and other instrumentalists will perform at the event, to be held at a penthouse apartment in Tribeca.
The Bay Area launch of the CD will occur on November 12 at a private home in the Noe Valley section of San Francisco. Zheng Cao, Mary Phillips and Jake Heggie, among others, will perform.
Tickets for both events are available at www.classicalaction.org or by calling 212-997-7717.
"Flesh & Stone," on the Americus Records label, is available at the Classical Action section of the web-store on the Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS web site, www.broadwaycares.org, or through www.americuscd.com.