Brief Encounters

A Witty, Gripping Trio of Pocket Operas About Love & Marriage

Mark Adamo Composer - AVOW
Jake Heggie Composer - AGAIN
David Patrick Stearns Librettist - AGAIN
Joe Illick Composer - FEEL THE TANGO
Susan Westfall Librettist - FEEL THE TANGO
Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

Love blossoms. Love inevitably fades. The perfect union is not always so perfect. This season, Fort Worth Opera invites Festival audiences to step onto the battlefield of love and witness three intimate tales of desire, doubt, fear, and longing with Brief Encounters.

This riveting trio of 15-minute pocket operas by acclaimed composer-librettist Mark Adamo (Avow); Fort Worth Opera Artistic Director Joe Illick and librettist Susan Westfall (Feel The Tango); and award-winning composer Jake Heggie with librettist David Patrick Stearns (Again), explore the expectations about marriage versus the reality of “till death do us part.”

William Florescu, General Director of Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, directs a talented cast of rising and established stars of the opera world. Soprano Maren Weinberger (The Barber of Seville, Buried Alive | Embedded), mezzo-soprano Kate Tombaugh, tenor Javier Abreu (Before Night Falls), baritone Samuel Schultz, are joined by international operatic bass and Broadway actor Zachary James to bring these mini-operas to life.


AVOW highlights the anxieties of a couple about to be married, along with the eagerness of the bride’s mother, the other-worldliness of the celebrant, and the lessons learned by the ghost of the groom’s father, which he tries to pass on to his son before he ties the knot.

AGAIN is a behind-the-scenes look at the four main protagonists of I Love Lucy. Ricky and Lucy have a rocky marriage and Ethel and Fred can only enable them. In this modern fable, the composer has used iconic figures from the world of classic American television to examine the darker side of relationships.

FEEL THE TANGO follows the fortunes of Sandy and Joe, who have apparently been married for way too long. On this particular Friday night, when they go to their usual Spanish restaurant after a film, the waiter and waitress are strangely attentive, and something feels distinctly different.

Brief Encounters Cast & Crew

  • Javier AbreuThe Celebrant, Ricky, The Waiter

  • Zachary JamesThe Ghost

  • Samuel SchultzThe Groom, Fred, Joe

  • Kate TombaughThe Bride, Ethel, The Waitress

  • Maren WeinbergerThe Mother, Lucy, SandyWebsite

  • Mark AdamoComposer and Librettist

  • Jake HeggieComposer

  • David Patrick StearnsLibrettist - Again

  • Joe IllickConductor

  • Susan WestfallLibrettist - Feel The Tango

  • William FlorescuDirector