For Los Altos-raised soprano Talise Trevigne, performing the role of Pip, the 14 year-old cabin boy, in Moby-Dick
is the ultimate homecoming. We asked Trevigne five questions about her unique experiences on the Pequod and about being back in the Bay Area for this landmark production.
1. As a Bay Area native, what has it been like to make your San Francisco Opera debut?
Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have always thought the opera to be a staple in the cultural fabric of San Francisco. I have been so well and warmly received by the audiences here in a role that I adore. It has been a complete joy to experience the ultimate homecoming in this marvelous city, as well as to spend so much time with my family!
[Above: Pip (Trevigne) raises his tambourine while looking out at the ocean. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
2. Did you read Moby-Dick in preparation for the role?
I had actually read Moby-Dick in school years ago, but decided to read the book again to truly dive into the history of the story, and to grasp Melville's language.
[Above: Trevigne flies through the air as she portrays a drowning Pip. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
3. In the production, you are required to sing an aria while suspended on cables, flying over the stage. What is it like to sing under these circumstances?
One of the greatest joys of singing this role is the physical aspect! I come from a dance background, so I love the ability to be so active in this role. I sing my aria suspended 25 or more feet in the air, by a single cable. You essentially have to give up any sense of singing with a center of gravity. It's definitely a challenge, but then I've never been a girl to run away from a good challenge!
[Above: Trevigne (third from left) with the men of the Pequod. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
4. You also have the honor of being the only woman in a cast of swarthy, seafaring men. What has that experience been like?
Being the lone woman on the Pequod has been an adventure to say the least. In many ways, it's been like having six older brothers—we're so very close, like family. Sometimes it is very similar to being trapped in a locker room with no way out! I grew up with all boy cousins, and was the first girl in three generations in my family, so I feel very much at home with my cast and crew. The chorus here has been a true delight. I will always cherish the men here in the chorus!
[Above: After being rescued, Pip (Trevigne) is comforted by Greenhorn (Stephen Costello) and Queequeg (Jonathan Lemalu). Photo by Cory Weaver.]
5. The Bay Area is such a foodie paradise. What your favorite restaurants when you are in SF?
Well I am certainly a foodie. I feel that eating well, and the practice of a meal at the table is essential. One of my favorite restaurants in the city is Quince, exquisite food and beautiful service. The second is Ideale in North Beach. Some of the very best Italian cuisine that I have had! Lovely staff, and they love the opera!! Both are a must do for your eating list!