Moby-Dick from San Francisco Opera

Jay Hunter Morris on Captain Ahab Role

The American tenor Jay Hunter Morris describes his role performing Captain Ahab in “Moby-Dick,” composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s award-winning opera performed by the San Francisco Opera in a multimedia production.

“We’re all looking for a great story, vividly drawn characters, a compelling drama, a great score — it’s got all that,” says Morris about “Moby-Dick.”

“Here is one of the greatest characters in all of literature …. Everybody wants to play Ahab,” says Morris about author Herman Melville’s famously obsessive ship captain who is driven mad by his quest to kill the whale Moby-Dick.

“Every actor, every singer, every dancer — we all want to kill somebody. We all want to kill ourselves. We all want to go crazy. We want the mad scene. We want to be dying of tuberculosis and lay there and sing the most beautiful music,” says Morris about the intensity of playing a character like Captain Ahab.

Morris goes on to describe the creative exchange he enjoyed with composer Jake Heggie while in rehearsal for the production.

“He supports the craziest Ahab, the most charismatic Ahab that I can bring.”

Moby-Dick will be broadcast on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.