Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s award-winning opera 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. Composed in two acts and sung in English, Heggie and Scheer’s opera adaptation brings a thrilling new musical dimension to one of the towering classics of American literature, Herman Melville’s celebrated novel Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Jay Hunter Morris sings Captain Ahab in Leonard Foglia’s multimedia production.
The Bay Area premiere ran for eight performances in the fall of 2012 at the historic War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers presided over a vocally resplendent cast of singers including Jay Hunter Morris (Captain Ahab), Stephen Costello (Greenhorn), Jonathan Lemalu (Queequeg), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Talise Trevigne (Pip), Matthew O’Neill (Flask) and Robert Orth (Stubb), The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Ian Robertson, Chorus Director), in a stage production directed by Leonard Foglia, choreographed by Keturah Stickann and designed by Robert Brill (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting), and Elaine J. McCarthy (projections).
Bay Area music critics warmly embraced the opera’s premiere. “The result is a masterpiece of clarity and intensity, with a score that is at once thematically compact and richly inventive,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. “…‘Moby-Dick’ boasts an ace cast and whiz-bang production values: digital projections that conjure the vast rolling seas; physical sets with mile-high masts and Brooklyn-Bridge grids of rigging…‘Moby’ is awesome in a 21st century Broadway kind of way,” extolled the San Jose Mercury News.
Moby-Dick was co-commissioned by San Francisco Opera in partnership with the Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and the State Opera of South Australia, and premiered at the Dallas Opera’s Winspear Opera House in April 2010. In September 2012, Moby-Dick was voted “Best Opera” and Leonard Foglia was named “Best Director of an Opera” at the 2012 Helpmann Awards for Performing Arts in Australia, that country’s highest awards recognizing distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in live performance.
San Francisco Opera has a long and distinguished broadcast history with Great Performances including national telecasts of Samson et Dalila, L’Africaine, Mefistofele, Turandot, Dangerous Liaisons, San Francisco Opera 75th Anniversary Gala Celebration Concert, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Merry Widow.