Heggie burst onto the American opera scene with Dead Man Walking in 2000 as composer in residence for the San Francisco Opera. One of the best-reviewed composers of recent years, his Moby Dick recently premiered at the Dallas Opera with tenor Ben Heppner starring as Ahab. Heggie is also an accomplished pianist who also accompanies many prominent singers in concert performances.
Again, operatic scene in 10 minutes for four solo voices and chamber orchestra Libretto by Kevin Gregory. May 4, 2000, Society for Ethical Culture, New York, New York, Susannah Waters, Kimberly Barber, Matthew Chellis, Dean Ely
Dead Man Walking, opera in two acts Libretto by Terrence McNally after the book by Helen Prejean. October 7, 2000, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco, California, Susan Graham, Kristine Jepson, John Packard, Frederica von Stade, Theresa Hamm-Smith, Robert Orth, Nicolle Foland, Catherine Cook, Gary Rideout; also Opera Pacific, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Pittsburgh Opera, Baltimore Opera, 16 others
The End Of The Affair, opera in two acts Libretto by Heather McDonald after the novel by Graham Greene. March 4, 2004, Houston Grand Opera, Houston, Texas, Cheryl Barker, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Peter Coleman-Wright, Katerine Ciesinski, Joseph Evans, Robert Orth; also revised version with libretto by McDonald, Leonard Foglia, and Jake Heggie 2004-5
At the Statue of Venus, scene for soprano and piano Libretto by Terrence McNally. September 10, 2005, Opera Colorado, Denver, Colorado, Kristin Clayton, soprano, Jake Heggie, piano [composed for Renee Fleming]
To Hell and Back, opera in one act for soprano, broadway soprano and period instrument orchestra Libretto by Gene Scheer after Ovid's Metamorphoses. November 2, 2006, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View, CA, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Patti LuPone; Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan cond.
For a Look or a Touch, Drama for baritone and actor Libretto by Gene Scheer after the film Paragraph 175. May 7, 2007, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington, Julian Patrick, actor; Morgan Smith, bar. [commissioned by Music for Remembrance]
Last Acts, chamber opera in two acts Libretto by Gene Scheer after the play Some Christmas Letters by Terrence McNally. February 29, 2008, Houston Grand Opera, Houston, Texas, Frederica von Stade, Kristin Clayton, Keith Phares; Summers cond. [Later retitled and now performed as Three Decembers]
Moby-Dick, opera in two acts Libretto by Gene Scheer after the novel by Hermann Melville. April 30, 2010, The Dallas Opera, Dallas, Texas, Ben Hepppner (Ahab); Stephen Costello (Greenhorn); Morgan Smith (Starbuck); Jonathan Lemalu (Queequeg); Talise Trevigne (Pip); Roberth Orth (Stubb); Allan Glassman (Flask); Jonathan Beyer (Gradiner); Summers cond.