Release date: 9/25/2012
San Francisco Opera Presents Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick Starring Jay Hunter Morris and Stephen Costello, October 10-November 2, War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco Opera presents the Bay Area premiere of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick at the War Memorial Opera House. Opening Wednesday, October 10 with seven subsequent performances through November 2, this San Francisco Opera co-commission based on Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick, has previously been presented by the Dallas Opera, Calgary Opera, San Diego Opera and the State Opera of South Australia. Tenor Jay Hunter Morris stars as Captain Ahab alongside Stephen Costello as Greenhorn (Ishmael), baritone Morgan Smith as Starbuck, bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu as Queequeg and soprano Talise Trevigne as Pip. Conducted by San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers, who also led the world premiere in April 2010, this co-production features innovative set designs by Robert Brill and is directed by Leonard Foglia. On September 24, Moby-Dick was named Best Opera and Leonard Foglia was named Best Director of an Opera at the Helpmann Awards for Performing Arts in Australia—that country’s highest awards recognizing distinguished artistic achievement and excellence.
Conducted by Patrick Summer and Directed by Leonard Foglia
San Francisco Opera Partners with Bay Area Organizations to Presents Ancillary Events in Conjunction with Moby-Dick
Jay Hunter Morris most recently made a triumphant appearance at San Francisco Opera in the title role of Siegfried in June 2011 and has previously appeared as Captain Ahab in Adelaide, Australia and San Diego, where sandiego.com wrote of him: “the fiery brilliance of his resplendent upper range captured both Ahab’s inner strength and demonic possession.” Morris has received significant acclaim for his portrayal of Siegfried at the Metropolitan Opera in their 2012 Ring cycle and will return to that company to reprise the role in 2013. Morris made his San Francisco Opera debut as Mitch in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire in 1998 and has created roles in San Francisco Opera’s world premiere productions of Heggie’s first opera, Dead Man Walking (2000) and John Adams’ Doctor Atomic (2005).
Rounding out the cast are four singers who each created their roles in the world premiere of Moby-Dick at the Dallas Opera in 2010. American tenor Stephen Costello makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Greenhorn (Ishmael). Other recent engagements include Lord Percy in Anna Bolena at the Metropolitan Opera, which was transmitted to theaters worldwide; Alfredo Germont in La Traviata with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Cincinnati Opera; Rodolfo in La Bohème with Los Angeles Opera; and Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore at the Vienna State Opera.
American baritone Morgan Smith returns to San Francisco Opera as Starbuck, following his Company debut as Prince Yamadori in 2006’s Madama Butterfly. A frequent guest at Leipzig Opera, his roles there have included Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Marcello in La Bohème and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. Other career highlights include Escamillo in Carmen with Fort Worth Opera and Tacoma Opera, Moralès in Carmen at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the role of Ted Steinert in the world premiere of Frau Margot by Thomas Pasetieri and Frank Corsaro at Fort Worth Opera.
New Zealand-born Samoan Jonathan Lemalu makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Queequeg. The baritone’s recent engagements include Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette with Los Angeles Opera and in Wales, Gobrias in Handel’s Belshazzar in Toulouse, Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, and Porgy in Porgy and Bess with Cincinnati Opera.
Soprano Talise Trevigne makes her San Francisco Opera debut as Pip, a role she debuted in Dallas and reprised at San Diego Opera. Other career highlights include Gilda in Rigoletto with Tulsa Opera, the title role of Manon with Knoxville Opera, Micaëla in Carmen with San Diego Opera and creating the role of The Beloved in Liza Lim’s The Navigator at the Brisbane Festival. Her new solo recording, At the Statue of Venus, is comprised completely of recording premieres of works by Jake Heggie and Glen Roven.
Bay Area composer Jake Heggie’s operas have been produced extensively throughout the U.S. as well as in Australia, Canada, Europe, and Ireland. In addition to Moby-Dick, he is the composer of operas Dead Man Walking, Three Decembers, The End of the Affair and To Hell and Back. He has also composed more than 200 art songs, as well as concerti, orchestral, choral and chamber music. Since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000, Dead Man Walking has received more than 120 performances internationally. Librettist Gene Scheer has collaborated on a number of projects with Jake Heggie, including Three Decembers, the one-act opera To Hell and Back, and the song cycles Statuesque, Rise and Fall and Camille Claudel: Into the Fire. He was the librettist for two projects with Tobias Picker: An American Tragedy, which received its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005, and Thérèse Raquin, which had its premiere at the Dallas Opera in 2001 and was subsequently performed in Montreal, San Diego, and London.
In conjunction with the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick, San Francisco Opera has partnered with a variety of organizations to present related ancillary events. Event partners include San Francisco Maritime Museum; University of California, Berkeley; Litquake Festival; Jewish Community Center of San Francisco; California Academy of Sciences; the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco; Clerestory; San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis; and the San Francisco Opera Guild. Events range from lectures and panel discussions with cast and creative team members, to concerts, educational classes and movie screenings. A full listing of ancillary events can be found at the end of this press release and at sfopera.com/mobyevents.