Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moby Dick at San Francisco Opera

We had some world series the other day, so we should have a little opera.  A friend told us we could get senior rush tickets at 11 am of the day of the performance, so we walked down to the opera house and got in line.  We were in the orchestra, row S, for $30 each.  Student rush tickets are only $25.  And there are also tickets for a standing area for $10. 

Moby Dick was commissioned by the Dallas Opera for the opening of its new opera hall in 2010.  Jake Heggie was asked to write it.  He was at the pre-opera talk an hour before the performance.

You may not take pictures during the performance, but digital imaging and human imagination made made the ship and the ocean real on stage.  Particularly cool was the curved stage with 'steps' built into it.  This allowed cast members to be at different levels of the ship.  It also allowed them to be in rowboats (with the help of digital boat outlines and a digital ocean) and the fall overboard - sliding down the curved part of the stage to the floor.  You can see it in this picture below of Captain Ahab (Jay Hunter Morris) taking a curtain call, without his peg leg.

Here's the whole cast.

All the parts are male, but they used a soprano to play the 14 year old Pip.  Heggie explained in the talk that 14 year old boys were not the most reliable, would have to be miked, and his voice would be changing.  Using an older female soprano seemed the obvious solution.  

 Here's Heggie after the talk and before the performance. 

I liked the music, but I have no idea how to discuss it so I won't.  But you can judge for yourself in the Youtube video from UC television.  He goes to the piano to talk about Moby Dick at about 29 minutes. 

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