Please, call me... Jackie

Commissioning Silveira's music
Schedule of fees

Two audio clips

Jackie as a reporter
Jackie singing a poem by Prevert

"Please, Call Me... Jackie"

Some words about the big work:

A musical tribute to one of the most important First Ladies of the United States of America, with music and libretto by Guillermo Silveira.

Lyrics by Michael Miyazaki, Marcela Wolfe, Michael Baker, Will Moreau, Jaques Prevert, Patricia Diaz Bialet, Janice Jordan, Mark Richards, Mark McHugh, Federico Garcia Lorca, Henry.

Two acts videopera. Duration 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The first presentation of "Please, Call Me ... Jackie" as a "cafe concert" performance style was on Wednesday July 28th, 1992, at The Collector Art-Gallery Restaurant Dupont Plaza Hotel *today Doyle Hotel* located at 1505 19th St. N.W. Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. USA.

Since that date its songs and arias were broadcasted and presented in concerts around the world, and in different video chamber multimedia formats in the Washington area. It was performed at the Dumbarton Methodist Church in Georgetown, sponsored by South 2 Foundation; at Les Halles, sponsored by Air France and the Embassy of France; at the District of Columbia Arts Center; at the Washington Arts Center; and at the National Theatre Auditorium sponsored by the D.C. Commission for the Arts and Humanities.

The mythological image of Jackie inspired this work, and there is no intention of real portrait in any part of the piece. A weird mediterranean antichrist look alike character, "Le Chansonier Legrand", sings "Je suis le Grand Chansonier, le Chansonier Legrand" inviting the audience to a deconstruction of the public image of Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

The lyrical musical style moves from tonal to atonal, and it is through-composed, fluid, dramatic and effective.

After the overture, Legrand presents seven different Jackies from different times of JKO's life. Titles and anachronic flash backs picturing in each aria a different emotion develop evolving in sounding fractal images and changes during the opera.

Video parts of the past and future play back in each new scene.

1.- Baby Jackie singing "Que jour", "Oh, Jacks!" a lullaby sung by Black Jack telling his daughter the story of their family tree.

2.- Children songs like "Half of Us", "I'm Just a Girl", "Queen of the Circus", picture teens sisters Jackie and Lee.

3.- Jackie photographer and reporter picture "Capture the Moment", "Jesus Eyes", and "To My Father".

4.- Washington politics in the early sixties with "Variete", "White House Decoration", "Jackie Bouvier est la marie du president des Estates Unites", "I'm in Love...", "Ay! voz secreta del amor oscuro", "Capture the Nation", and "I Must Be Brave for Dad" picture her image related to JFK's, their children and the world.

5.- "To My Sister", "Sleep in English", and a new "Half of Us" returns to her relation with sister Lee in their thirties.

6.- "Greek Song", portraits Jackie Onassis transforming into a diva in "Wedding", "Queen of the World", and "Callas Death".

7.- "Requiem", "Hillary's song", "To My Father", "I had been through a lot", and "Que Jour" duet portrait the older and eternal Jackie.

Through a deconstruction of the myth Legrand unvails the achievements of the First Lady and re-evaluates her myth recognizing Jackie as one of the most important First Ladies of the XX's century.

Special to The Washington Post

By Joseph McLellan

        On the two occasions when I have seen it, a few years ago 
in the Warner Theatre and last Saturday at the Society of the 
Cincinnati, Guillermo Silveira's opera "Please, Call Me . . . 
Jackie" made a strong but fragmentary impression. It is a work 
in progress, a concept of epic, mythical dimensions that has not 
yet had an opportunity to find complete expression. 
        "I cannot wait until I see it on a big stage as a grand 
opera, with videos, full choir and orchestra," Silveira told me 
after Saturday's performance, which had much more modest 
dimensions and was staged in a fascinating but less than ideal 
        Silveira, a native of Argentina who has lived and 
worked in Washington for years, wrote the libretto as well 
as the music for "Please, Call Me . . . Jackie," using lyrics 
by a dozen poets as the texts for its songs. It is a treatment 
of the life--or, more precisely, the myth--of Jacqueline Kennedy 
Onassis, using not only words and music but dance, recorded 
sounds and video projections to examine its subject from many 
points of view, It is an example (you might also call it a 
victim) of the curious situation of opera in America today. 
        Opera is the fastest-growing branch of classical music, 
not only in the United States (where it was once considered a 
pastime for the idle rich) but throughout the world. With a 
history going back four centuriues (it originated as Italy's 
response to the same ideals and classical examples that 
inspired the plays of Shakespeare), opera is older than the 
symphony, the string quartet or the keyboard sonata. And with 
its blend of words, music and visual elements (dance, acting, 
scenery, costumes) it is the original multi-media art form. Its 
emphasis on extreme emotional states also makes it curiously 
suited to the atmosphere of the late 20th century. Glance at  
the headlines any morning--or note that Richard Nixon, Malcolm X, 
Palestinian terrorits and Marilyn Monroes have each been the 
subject of a recent opera, and you cannot avoid the feeling that 
we live in very operatic times. 
        Operatic talent is available in this country at unprecedented 
levels of quality and quantity--singers, composers, librettists, 
stage directors, lighting and set designers; we have more opera 
companies than ever before, and more than any other form of 
classical music, opera is attracting young audiences. Almost all 
the elements are in place for a golden age of opera, except money. 
A composer who wants to hear his music performed is well-advised 
to write for piano or string quartet, where production costs are 
minimal. A total production of "Please, Call Me . . . Jackie" 
on the level that it calls for will not be inexpensive. 
        Until he finds the resources for that production, Silveira 
must present his opera in segments, performances that hint at 
what the total might be. Saturday's performance used a piano 
(which the composer played impressively) rather than an orchestra. 
The foyer of the Society of the Cincinnati (a museum on Embassy 
Row, devoted to Revolutionary War memorabilia) is visually 
striking, with a balcony and a long staircase that were used 
effectively in this performance and a lot of marble that blurs 
operatic texts but enriches the music with reverberation. 
There were three singers: soprano Laurie Nelson, who fit well 
into the role of Jackie, Angela Donovan who harmonized and 
soloed as he sister Lee, and Silveira, who is a bass-baritone, 
as a sort of narrator. The reduced version outlined the opera 
in seven episodes showing Jackie at all stages of her life from 
infancy to Requiem. Silveira's music is highly enjoyable in a 
variety of styles that range from pure pop to atonality; he has 
an impressive melodic gift and interesting ideas that I hope to 
see and hear explored some day in an opera house. Information 
about his music is available at his web site: 


A musical tribute to one of the most important First Ladies of America

Saturday April 10th, 1999, at 1:30 PM.

The Anderson House, The Society of the Cincinnati

2118 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008

Performers at the "In House" presentation of "Please, Call Me ... Jackie" at the Anderson House.

Laurie Nelson, opera singer, has sung Susana, Suor Angelica, Musetta, Magda, and many other major opera roles. She has performed in Dublin, New York, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, and the WAshington, D.C. area in many prestigious opera houses. She has also performed almost all the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in the United States and abroad. In 1998, Laurie sung two of Silveira's chamber operas. Urban Arias and The Triumph of the Spirit, at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution.

Angela Donovan, singer, has played Agnes in Agnes of God, Wendla in Spring Awakening, Countess Charlotte in Little Night Music, and she has just finished performing the role of Dolly in Hello, Dolly. She recorded a C.D. and performed with Laurie Nelson in Bay Bee Face Nelson by Steve Morris. Angela is a senior music theatre major at The Catholic University of America.

Sean Favretto, dancer and choreographer, is a graduate from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, studied at the Jose Limon Institute (NYC), and at Dance Place in Washington, D.C. Sean has performed in many prestigious cultural centers in the area such as Dance Place, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and many others. His impeccable work mesmerized and thrilled Washington audiences.

Barbara Ann Auld, is the owner of Park Place Museum in Kentucky. The green silk pill box hat with lone rose that Mrs. Nelson wears today belongs to the Park Place Museum permanent collection. It was owned originally by Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and it was a gift from Mrs. Charles Dynes.