Moby-Dick is an opera in two acts by
composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, based on the novel by Herman
Melville. Commissioned by The Dallas Opera with San Francisco Opera, San Diego
Opera, Calgary Opera and the State Opera of South Australia, Moby-Dick opened to
extraordinary international acclaim on April 30, 2010 at the Margot & Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas.
has become one of the pre-eminent contemporary opera composers. His Dead
Man Walking premiered at the San Francisco Opera in 2000 and is among
the most successful operas premiered since the death of Benjamin Britten
in 1976. Moby-Dick, based on Melville's 1851 novel, is another triumph.”
Ronald Blum, Associated Press
“It's glorious and it's gripping; it's grand —
and it's good! Heggie — assisted by his seasoned librettist Gene Scheer
— has achieved something with Moby-Dick that American opera has not
experienced in a long time: they have created a work of quality that
should garner itself an immediate place in the repertory of opera houses
around the world.“
Wes Blomster, Opera Today
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Ronald Blum (May 2010)
“MOBY-DICK IS A WHALE OF A HIT FOR COMPOSER JAKE HEGGIE”
Composer Jake Heggie achieved his goal Friday night with an
achingly beautiful, magnificently sung and gorgeously staged world premiere of
his Moby-Dick, the highlight of the Dallas Opera's first season at the sparkling
new Winspear Opera House. The audience responded with an eight-minute standing
Just 49, Heggie has become one of the pre-eminent contemporary
opera composers. His Dead Man Walking premiered at the San Francisco Opera in
2000 and is among the most successful operas premiered since the death of
Benjamin Britten in 1976. Moby-Dick, based on Melville's 1851 novel, is another
Heggie is a rarity, an accessible composer whose melodic lines
and sense of drama are aimed at audiences rather than academics. With librettist
Gene Scheer, he has transformed Melville's sprawling novel into an active stage
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Scott Cantrell (May 2010)
Moby-Dick, the opera, is a triumph. Stunningly staged and
sung, it captures the elemental forces of the sea and Captain Ahab's obsession
with the great white whale that has maimed him. Scheer seamlessly tunes his own
prose and poetry to Melville's. Heggie composes vocal lines that make sense
vocally and illumine words and emotions.
THE NEW YORK TIMES, Steve Smith (May 2010)
...Mr. Heggie's opera was an undeniable success: The end of its
maiden voyage was greeted with a sustained, rousing ovation, with shredded
programs fluttering down from the highest seating level. The strongest response
was reserved for Mr. Heggie and Mr. Scheer, received at the end with a triumphal
OPERA NOW, Chris Shull (May 6, 2010)
Melville's Moby-Dick has been called the Great American Novel.
Jake Heggie's telling of the story is certainly a great American opera...
...a vibrant cast, headlined by Canadian star-tenor Ben Heppner,
an atmospheric set enhanced by vido projections, and Heggie's sumptuous, noble
score combined on May 5 for an exhilarating evening of music and theatre...
THE TORONTO STAR, William Littler (May 2010)
...probably one of the most successful new operas to reach the
stage in the past quarter century.
THE WASHINGTON POST, Anne Midgette (May 2010)
Moby-Dick turned out to be one of the most satisfying new
operas I've seen premiered... the opening-night crowd in Dallas broke into
spontaneous applause three times during the first half, and screamed and yelled
its approval at the curtain calls. It was a wonderful and rare reminder that new
opera truly can excite people if it's done right.
BEYONDCRITICISM.COM, Matthew Gurewitsch
The score is studded with vivid scenes in many modes. But the
distinction of Moby-Dick lies less in its parts than in the whole. Though the
action is episodic, the libretto holds a taut arc. The score holds together,
too, shaped by the gravitational pull of the ties, ever-changing in the music
yet ever-present. Ribbons of silken melody, played by solo winds and reeds,
ripple high above, like wayward breezes. Pizzicati conjure up pinpricks of
starlight on the waves. Under the baton of Patrick Summers, the score unfolded
majestically, never rushed yet never meandering, the dramatic incidents clearly
set off within the greater flow.
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Joshua Kosman (May 2010)
[Heggie & Scheer's] powerful and emotionally irresistible new
work, which opened over the weekend at the Dallas Opera, doesn't shy away from
the challenges presented by Melville's landmark novel. Instead, it deftly
sidesteps them, drawing from the source only those things needed for the drama
and using Heggie's lush, expressive music to carry the show. The result is a
vibrant, compelling piece of musical theater...easily Heggie's finest creation
since Dead Man Walking first put him on the map a decade ago.
Heggie's great achievement in Moby-Dick is to write melodies
that are memorable without being predictable, using harmonies that are clear but
flavorful. The formal dramaturgy, too, is sleek and uncluttered, unfolding in a
series of crisply rounded arias, choruses and especially duets.
D MAGAZINE, Wayne Lee Gay (May 2010)
Along with a new opera, a new chapter in opera history may
have opened Friday night at the Winspear Opera House.
THE WASHINGTON POST, Anne Midgette (June 27, 2010)
When it opened on April 30, Moby-Dick turned out to be the hit
of the season. The audience screamed approval, and performances promptly sold
...Moby-Dick is about as popular as a new opera can get. Not only was it a
box-office success, but before it even opened, Heggie's name also had attracted
four co-producers...Therefore, this successful production will be seen again...
OPERA TODAY, Wes Blomster (May 2010)
It's glorious and it's gripping; it's grand — and it's good!
Heggie — assisted by his seasoned librettist Gene Scheer — has achieved
something with Moby-Dick that American opera has not experienced in a long time:
they have created a work of quality that should garner itself an immediate place
in the repertory of opera houses around the world.
Director Leonard Foglia worked with the hand of a sorcere to
blend projection designs by Elaine McCarthy into an overpowering and effective
whole with designs by Robert Brill and lighting by Donald Holder. Never did
these visual aspects threaten the primacy of Heggie's score, in which there is
not one superfluous note.
Patrick Summers, Heggie's perennial collaborator, evoked
magnificent playing from The Dallas Opera Orchestra in giving birth to what is
obviously a modern masterpiece of music theater.
OPERA WARHORSES, William Burnett (May 2010)
Not only do I suspect that Moby-Dick will propel Heggie to the
first rank of the extraordinary current crop of contemporary American opera
composers, I believe that it quite possibly...will become the most popular opera
written so far during our young century.
FORT WORTH RENAISSANCE, Dean Cassella (May 2010)
...reveals a composer whose depth and sophistication is growing
with time, and the music world is the better for it.
CITY WALK TALK, John P. Greenan (May 2010)
Earlier this month I saw the future of opera. It is Moby-Dick
at Dallas' Winspear Opera House.
WFAA-TV, Gary Cogill (May 2010)
...a massive artistic accomplishment.
THE AUSTRALIAN, Graham Strahle (Aug 29, 2011)
[Moby-Dick] is a large, epically proportioned work … the music is flawlessly beautiful, like a jewel. It is intensely lyrical, powerfully moody and superbly well paced. There are no disjunctures of style or breaks in dramatic flow; instead, Heggie has created a giant symphonic poem through which he threads the voices majestically and gloriously.
INDAILY, Greg Elliott (Aug 29, 2011)
Moby-Dick is a triumph! ... a total and memorable experience. What an exciting city and time we live in that gives rise to an international collaboration that produces a modern masterpiece such as Moby-Dick.
THE ADVERTISER, Ewart Shaw (Aug 29, 2011)
... an astounding journey. The Great American Novel has become a grand new opera.
GLAM ADELAIDE, Barry Lenny (Aug 29, 2011)
The seamless combination of projections, the physical set and live action is astounding, seeming to blend opera with theatre, circus, cinema and visual art into a multimedia extravaganza. It has to be seen to be believed.