Heggie and Scheer’s MOBY-DICK Returns to TDO

by Suzanne Calvin

It’s the return of the White Whale and the crew in pursuit of him: MOBY-DICK at the Dallas Opera -- again -- in 2016.  This time, conducted by Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.

Friday, April 4, 2014
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014 Celeste Hart 214.443.1072
suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org celeste.hart@dallasopera.org

Starring Jay Hunter Morris as Ahab, Stephen Costello as Greenhorn, Morgan Smith as Starbuck, Jonathan Lemalu as Queequeg and many more from the original all-star cast
– conducted by Music Director Emmanuel Villaume!
Opening November 4, 2016 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center

DALLAS, APRIL 4, 2014 – The Dallas Opera tonight capped a phenomenally successful season with the announcement that the original Leonard Foglia production of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s powerful twenty-first century masterpiece, MOBY-DICK, will be returning to the site of its triumphant 2010 world premiere. This limited engagement will begin on Friday, November 4, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
MOBY-DICK, a critically acclaimed contemporary opera based on the epic novel by Herman Melville, will be conducted by our esteemed music director, Emmanuel Villaume. The production has also inspired the return of many of the artists who created these iconic roles, including tenor Stephen Costello as “Greenhorn,” baritone Morgan Smith as “Starbuck” and New Zealand bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu as the mysterious “Queequeg.”
The announcement was made this evening at the Dallas Opera’s annual Spring Gala, dubbed “A Texas Homecoming,” in which tenor Jay Hunter Morris – the star of the Dallas Opera’s current production of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die tote Stadt (“The Dead City”) performed before an audience of enraptured patrons, as well as area high school and university fine arts students.

“I have a special affection for Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s masterpiece,” explained Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. “I consider it one of the finest operas of recent years and it originated here in Dallas. The experience was electrifying for those lucky enough to secure tickets for that original 2010 world premiere—a production which sent shock waves throughout the music world and, subsequently, was performed to great acclaim from Adelaide, Australia to San Francisco and beyond.
“What a thrill it is to announce that Jay Hunter Morris, the renowned Heldentenor who inherited the mantle of Captain Ahab from Ben Heppner, will command the Pequod once more when it returns to its ‘home port’ in 2016.”

The original production opened on April 30, 2010 in the Winspear Opera House and made a splash heard around the world:

“Surprise. When it opened on April 30 (2010), Moby-Dick turned out to be the hit of the season…about as popular as a new opera can get.”
-- Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

“…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 roar.”
-- Steve Smith, The New York Times

“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.”
-- Opera Today

“Everyone exhale now. Moby-Dick, the opera, is a triumph.”
-- Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News

“Along with a new opera, a new chapter in opera history may have opened Friday night at the Winspear Opera House.”
-- Wayne Lee Gay, D magazine

“The cast and creative team deserved their opening night standing ovation, which also goes to the Dallas Opera for bravely commissioning a significant new work—always a risky business. Moby-Dick proves that such risks are worth taking.”
-Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones

“…what is probably one of the most successful new operas to reach the stage in the past quarter century.”
-- William Littler, The Toronto Star

“The opera works cannily with Melville’s central themes of obsession, innocence and alienation. It zeroes in on Captain Ahab’s mad pursuit of the white whale that robbed him of his leg, and Ahab’s antagonist, the religious first mate Starbuck, who tries fervently to convince the captain of the godless folly of that quest.”
-- Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal

“…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 ovation.”
-- Ronald Blum, Associated Press

“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.”
-- William Burnett, Opera Warhorses

“Dallas Opera pulled off a coup de théâtre…Gene Scheer’s libretto reduced Melville’s epic to manageable size and made its essence clear even to a viewer-listener with no knowledge of the original…the special effects did not, for one moment, detract or distract from the music drama inherent in libretto and score, or from the emotional and psychological depths of Heggie and Scheer’s redaction of Melville’s characters. Talk about a Gesamtkunstwerk: the production made sense.”
-- Willard Spiegelman, Opera News

“Moby-Dick makes gripping musical theater…The physical production is simply magnificent. A whole team of designers, animators, projectionists and programmers creates a high-tech world that keeps the sea a brooding presence and gives the opera’s climactic moments an almost physical power.”
-- Olin Chism, Art & Seek/KERA

“…a performance that was sumptuously played and sung at the rapturously received premiere.”
-- George Loomis, The Financial Times

“…powerful and emotionally irresistible new work.”
-- Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle

“The Dallas Opera certainly did right by this one. The casting was stunning — I’ve seldom heard such a uniformly strong cast — and the production (directed by Leonard Foglia) was smart and theatrical.”
-- Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

“Ribbons of silken melody…the score unfolded majestically, never rushed yet never meandering, the dramatic incidents clearly set off within the greater flow.”
-- Matthew Gurewitsch, beyondcriticism.com

“The Dallas Opera ventured into the deep with its world premiere of Moby-Dick and returned to the surface a winner.”
-- James Bash, Oregon Music News

“…a massive artistic accomplishment.”
-- Gary Cogill, WFAA-TV

“…reveals a composer whose depth and sophistication is growing with time, and the music world is the better for it.”
-- Dean Cassella, Fort Worth Renaissance

“Earlier this month I saw the future of opera. It is Moby-Dick at Dallas’ Winspear Opera House.”
-- John P. Greenan, City Walk Talk

Since that time, MOBY-DICK has continued to earn rave reviews. It was experienced by a national television audience late last year as part of the PBS “Great Performances” series.

The composer and librettist have maintained their productive association with the Dallas Opera.
Librettist Gene Scheer is currently at work with British composer Joby Talbot on a world premiere opera entitled EVEREST, coming to the Dallas Opera in January of 2015.
Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally are creating a new opera for mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato – GREAT SCOTT – scheduled to open the Dallas Opera’s 2015-2016 Season.

Single tickets for The Dallas Opera’s 2013-2014 Season start at just $19 and are available by visiting www.dallasopera.org or by consulting with TDO’s friendly ticket office professionals at 214-443-1000.



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To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Director Media & Public Relations
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

The Dallas Opera’s 2013-2014 “By Love Transformed” Season
Is Sponsored by Texas Instruments Foundation



Ticket Information for the 2013-2014 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275 and Flex Subscriptions are on sale starting at $75. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.

The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Seventh International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk begins one hour prior to curtain, at most performances.

DIE TOTE STADT (“THE DEAD CITY”) by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
March 21, 23(m), 26, 29 and April 6(m), 2014
The Hitchcock-like tale of one man’s dark obsession with the woman he loved and lost.
An opera in three acts first performed in Hamburg & Cologne, Germany on December 4, 1920
Text by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Paul Schott based on a novel by Georges Rodenbach, Bruges la morte
Time: End of the 19th century
Place: The city of Bruges in northwestern Belgium
Conductor: Sebastian Lang-Lessing*
Stage Director: Mikael Melbye
Scenic Design: Mikael Melbye*
Costume Design: Dierdre Clancy*
Video Design: Wendall Harrington*
Lighting Design: Mark McCullough
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Choreography: Matthew Ferraro*
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Mardi Byers*(Marie/Marietta) , Jay Hunter Morris (Paul), Morgan Smith (Fritz), Weston Hurt (Frank), Katherine Tier*(Brigitta), Andrew Bidlack (Albert), Jan Lund**(Victorin), Jennifer Chung (Juliette), Angela Turner Wilson (Lucienne).

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE by Gioachino Rossini
March 28, 30(m), April 2, 5, 11 & 13(m), 2014
Figaro, a scheming barber and jack-of-all-trades plots to release a headstrong girl from her gilded cage!
An opera in two acts first performed in Rome on February 20, 1816
Text by Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais, from his comedy Le Barbier de Séville
Time: 18th century
Place: Seville, Spain
Conductor: Giuliano Carella*
Stage Director: Herb Kellner
Original Production: John Copley
Scenic Design: John Conklin
Costume Design: Michael Stennet
Lighting Design: Gary Marder
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Nathan Gunn (Figaro), Isabel Leonard*(Rosina), Alek Shrader*(Count Almaviva), Donato DiStefano (Dr. Bartolo), Burak Bilgili*(Don Basilio), Nathan De’Shon Myers (Fiorello), Christian Teague*(Ambrogio).

Jack and the Beanstalk: October 26, 2013 and April 5, 2014
Family Concerts: November 3, 2013 and February 1, 2014
The Elixir of Love: November 9, 2013 and April 12, 2014

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.


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