Who hasn’t imagined being someone else? Someone more powerful, rich, beautiful, gifted, beloved, famous, or infamous. Who would you be? For how long and at what cost?
Fabian Hart is a dispirited young man. An aspiring writer, a dreamer yearning for adventure and a way out of his stifling existence, he would sell his very soul to be somebody else. Brittomara, the devil, appears to offer him a supernatural power. By singing a secret phrase, Fabian will be able to transfer his soul into another person’s body to live their life. Thus begins the perilous journey of If I Were You as Fabian moves his lost soul from person to person in search of a better identity: sometimes running away, sometimes running toward, always leaving a trail of human wreckage. When the promise of profound love compels him to return to his original body, he must face the great existential question: live forever as someone else or die as yourself?
Loosely based on the novel by Julien Green, If I Were You is a contemporary story of identity with echoes of classic literature, from Faust to Jekyll & Hyde. Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer envision a work in which many of the Merola Opera Program’s young singers have the opportunity to be the lead as Fabian’s soul and music move from one character to the next.