Release date: 6/12/2013

San Francisco Opera's critically acclaimed presentation of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick to air Friday, November 1 on THIRTEEN'S Great Performances on PBS

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SAN FRANCISCO (June 12, 2013)––San Francisco Opera today announced the Company’s October 2012 presentation of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s award-winning opera Moby-Dick, will be broadcast nationwide on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.  Great Performances, a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, is one of America’s most prolific and respected public media partners.
This live-to-tape broadcast is produced by San Francisco Opera’s resident production team in collaboration with WNET using San Francisco Opera’s own high-definition (HD) media facilities to capture Moby-Dick’s dramatic stage action and critically acclaimed musical score.  The HD taping of Moby-Dick is video-directed by Frank Zamacona, a veteran video director of more than 42 stage productions for San Francisco Opera.
“After a ten-year hiatus we are delighted to be back with our first nationally televised production, greatly facilitated by our in-house Koret-Taube Media Suite and our resident production crew,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley.  “Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s opera Moby-Dick and its stage production are distinguished achievements and we are thrilled to partner once again with Great Performances in getting San Francisco Opera productions out to a wider audience.”

Composer Jake Heggie commented, “Americans can be justifiably proud that across the country, our opera companies are creating bold, meaningful, new works to tell stories that resonate strongly with audiences. I am thrilled, honored and deeply grateful that San Francisco Opera’s stunning production of Moby-Dick – commissioned with the companies of Dallas, San Diego, Calgary and South Australia – will now be telecast to millions of viewers nationwide. This is a dream come true for everybody involved – and a heartfelt tribute to the genius and inspiration of the great American author, Herman Melville.”
The Bay Area premiere of Moby-Dick ran for eight performances October 10 through November 2, 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), in a stage production directed by Leonard Foglia and designed by Robert Brill (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Gavan Swift (lighting), and Elaine J. McCarthy (projections).  All performances feature the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Ian Robertson Chorus Director.  Composed in two acts and sung in English, Heggie and Scheer’s nautical opera is based on American author Herman Melville’s celebrated novel Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.
Unanimous critical praise for the Bay Area performances of Moby-Dick included:

“The result is a masterpiece of clarity and intensity, with a score that is at once thematically compact and richly inventive.” (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. Directed by Leonard Foglia, ‘Moby’ is awesome in a 21st century Broadway kind of way.” (San Jose Mercury News)

“Suffused with gorgeous harmonies and melodic music, there are few contemporary operas like it; it certainly will stay in the international repertory for a long time. Heggie's work – with Gene Scheer's libretto based on Herman Melville's universally-known, rarely read book – is his biggest and best.” (San Francisco Examiner)

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’s broadcast history with Great Performances includes 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.
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! andCyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.
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Major support for the Great Performances telecast is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Starr Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and PBS.

San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Franklin and Catherine Johnson, Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield, Bernard and Barbro Osher, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti  Shrem. San Francisco Opera is supported, in part, by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. 

Wells Fargo is San Francisco Opera's Season Sponsor. San Francisco Opera is proud to recognize its corporate partners: United, the Official Airline of San Francisco Opera, and Chevron, fueling great performances everywhere.
The media production of Moby-Dick from San Francisco Opera is made possible, in part, by the generous support of Helen & Peter Bing, Ms. Joanne Bober, Margaret Boulware & Hartley Hampton, Gordon P. and Ann G. Getty, Stephen & Diane Heiman, Joan & Irwin Jacobs, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Sara & Bill Morgan, The Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, and Dr. Kenneth & Laurel Stein Duty and Devotion Memorial Fund.

Moby-Dick from San Francisco Opera is a co-production of San Francisco Opera and THIRTEEN in association with WNET. For Great Performances, David Horn is executive producer. The filming of Moby-Dick from San Francisco Opera is made possible, in part, by the Koret-Taube Media Suite.
San Francisco Opera presented Moby-Dick as part of the Company’s 2012-13 Season.  For more information, visit
For further press information or to obtain Moby-Dick–related photographs, please visit or contact:
San Francisco Opera Communications –
            Jon Finck (415) 565-6472 /
            Robin Freeman (415) 565-6451 /
National Press Representation–Shuman Associates (212) 315-1300 /
WNET Press Representation–Harry Forbes (212) 560-8027 /