Pittsburgh Opera Presents MOBY-DICK, Herman Melville's Tragic Tale About The Price Of Obsession

By: Jan. 30, 2018
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As part of Pittsburgh Opera's commitment to bring new, American operas to the Benedum Center stage, we are very proud to announce the Pittsburgh premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's critically acclaimed opera Moby-Dick.

The opera is based on the famous novel of the same name by Herman Melville, about Captain Ahab's monomaniacal pursuit of the legendary white whale in his ship the Pequod.

Pittsburgh Opera will be performing an exciting new production of Moby-Dick, which we co-produced with Utah Opera and which debuted in Salt Lake City this January. The Salt Lake Tribune praised that "Erhard Rom's abstract set design, Jessica Jahn's exhaustively researched costumes and Kristine McIntyre's authoritative stage direction pull the audience into the action."

The world-class cast includes two singers making their Pittsburgh Opera debuts plus some returning favorites.

· Canadian tenor Roger Honeywell returns to Pittsburgh as the obsessed Captain Ahab, who will stop at nothing to wreak his revenge on the giant whale that previously took off his leg. Honeywell also sang the role in Salt Lake City this January, where his "fierce performance brought Ahab to terrifying life" according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

· Former Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Sean Panikkar, last seen here in the world premiere of The Summer King - The Josh Gibson Story, sings the role of whaling neophyte Greenhorn, aka Ishmael in the book.

· Texas baritone Michael Mayes brings his "powerful" voice and "arresting stage presence" to his Pittsburgh Opera debut as Starbuck, the Pequod's First Mate, who is torn between his duty to his captain and his duty to himself.

· Also debuting is Musa Ngqungwana, a South African bass-baritone, as tattooed harpooner Queequeg, who befriends Greenhorn. The Dallas Observer called him a "powerful presence" when he portrayed Queequeg in 2016, and Limelight Magazine said he was "gorgeously resonant" in Utah this January.

· Malcolm MacKenzie and Eric Ferring sing the roles of bloodthirsty Second Mate Stubb and Third Mate Flask, respectively, while Jacqueline Echols is the ill-fated Cabin Boy, Pip.

Antony Walker conducts. Kristine McIntyre directs. Dancers provided by Attack Theatre. Moby-Dick is sung in English, with supertitles projected above the stage.

On stage March 17, 20, 23 & 25, Moby-Dick delivers an incredible combination of astounding visuals and spellbinding music you won't want to miss. Adult tickets start at just $12 - with Children's tickets for those ages 18 and under starting at just $6 - and are available online. Group discounts available.

Fun facts about Moby-Dick

1. The character called Ishmael in the book, the rookie whaler who serves as its narrator, is called "Greenhorn" in the opera. A greenhorn is "a person who is new to or inexperienced at a particular activity." The expression "green with envy" originally referred to new whalers and sailors who, prone to turn green in the face from sea-sickness, would envy veteran sailors who did not get sea sick.

2. Often called "the greatest novel in American literature", Moby-Dick was a commercial failure during Herman Melville's lifetime.

3. The only female cast member plays the role of a boy. Jacqueline Echols, who sang the role of Helen Gibson in Pittsburgh Opera's world premiere of The Summer King - The Josh Gibson Story in 2017, returns in a pants role as cabin boy Pip.


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