Utah Opera's 40th Anniversary Season Continues with New Production of MOBY DICK
Utah Opera's 40th anniversary season continues this month with an all-new production of American composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer's opera adaptation of Melville's classic novel, "Moby-Dick." This production, which features new sets and costumes by the Utah Opera Production Studios, uses traditional, theatrical staging designed to be economically viable and practical for a wide range of companies. Utah Opera will give five performances of "Moby-Dick" at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre on January 20, 22, 24, 26 at 7:30 PM, and January 28 at 2 PM. Tickets, priced from $15-$100, are available for purchase through utahopera.org or by calling (801) 533-6683.
Since its 2010 debut at Dallas Opera, "Moby-Dick" has been recognized for creative stage designs that capture both the expansiveness of the ocean and intimacy of crewmates onboard the whaling ship, the Pequod. With the new production, the Utah Opera creative team, led by director Kristine McIntyre, re-imagines this tale of man versus nature in terms of more traditional staging techniques and more frequently encountered stage sizes. Given that only a small number of U.S. opera companies have the technology and a large enough stage to mount the original production, the Utah Opera production will enable more companies around the nation to perform "Moby-Dick," bringing the opera to a broader audience. The production features sets by Erhard Rom and costumes by Jessica Jahn.
"In this new physical production of 'Moby-Dick', Utah Opera is thrilled to show the community its full capability. Our staff artisans represent some of the finest in the industry," said Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. "Working closely with a world-class director and award-winning designers, they have brought to life one of my dreams and something truly special that will be seen on stages around this country and beyond."
Utah Opera's "Moby-Dick" is co-produced with the Pittsburgh Opera, Opera San José, Chicago Opera Theater, and Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona).
The cast comprises tenor Roger Honeywell as Captain Ahab; tenor Joshua Dennis as Greenhorn (company debut), baritone David Adam Moore as Starbuck, bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg (company debut); tenor Joseph Gaines as Flask; baritone Craig Irvin as Stubb; soprano Jasmine Habersham-the only female in the cast-as Pip (company debut); baritone Jesús Vicente Murillo as Captain Gardiner (company debut); baritone Babatunde Akinboboye as Daggoo (company debut); tenor Keanu Aiono-Netzler as Tashtego (company debut); and tenor Anthony Buck as the Nantucket Sailor. Guest conductor Joseph Mechavich leads the cast, Utah Symphony orchestra, and Utah Opera Chorus. Mr. Honeywell and Mr. Nqgungwana will reprise their roles in Pittsburgh.
Ms. McIntyre, who has previously directed Utah Opera productions of "Don Giovanni," "Of Mice and Men," and "The Pearl Fishers," said: "At its core, 'Moby-Dick' is the story of a friendship. It's about how connection with another human being can literally save your life-and maybe your soul. Darkness and light. Destruction and survival. 'Moby-Dick' represents both what is best and worst about us-that our ability to hate and our desire to destroy is surpassed only by our ability to love. It is a story that is elemental, universal, and at its core, deeply human."
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company Artistic Director Daniel Charon reprises his partnership with Ms. McIntyre (seen in the 2015 production of "The Pearl Fishers") as choreographer for this production of "Moby-Dick."
Each performance will last approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes with one intermission.
PHOTO: (Left) Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg and Joshua Dennis as Greenhorn;
(Right) Utah Opera Production Studios constructs set for "Moby-Dick"