February 14, 2012 |
— Canadian tenor Ben Heppner is a versatile performer, but Tinker Bell he's not. Yet this mountain of a man will be flying as Captain Ahab in San Diego Opera's West Coast premiere of the opera "Moby-Dick. " The production sets sail Saturday at San Diego's Civic Theatre. At a recent rehearsal of the new opera by Jake Heggie — who made a splash with his first opera, "Dead Man Walking," in 2000 — the imposing Heppner was standing at the back of a cavernous rehearsal space in the Civic Theatre complex, wrapped in ropes and leaning on the cane that is part of the costume package for Captain Ahab, whose wooden peg leg replaces the limb bitten off by the great white whale in Herman Melville's sprawling 1851 novel.
October 3, 2013 |
The Los Angeles Public Library has been obsessing over “Moby Dick” lately, with celebrity readings, discussions, scientific studies, family days, film screenings and whatnot. Its “Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?” will now wind up Saturday night with “My Moby Dick” at the Broad Stage. In what is described as a multimedia voyage, Stacy Keach, Alan Mandell, Shohreh Aghdashloo and others expect to pursue this particular literary great white whale from a variety of points of physical, metaphysical and fantastical points of view. The director is David Schweizer, who not only has been responsible for some of Long Beach Opera's most outrageously effective productions (Purcell's “Indian Queen” and Thomas Adès' “Powder Her Face”)
October 22, 1988 |
An inveterate story teller, Johana Harris-Heggie nevertheless seems to avoid reminiscing--she lives and laughs in the present. But Roy Harris' widow, now remarried, can sometimes be persuaded to look back. The other afternoon, for instance, at the end of a long day of teaching at UCLA, the veteran pianist, who will be 76 in January, seemed in the mood for short forays into the past.
June 3, 2008 |
With 22 seasons under its belt, Pacific Serenades still makes a major point of trying to freshen the chamber music repertoire with newly commissioned works. Sunday afternoon in Pasadena's Neighborhood Church, the series presented its 90th commission -- the U.S. premiere of "Friendly Persuasions," a song cycle for tenor by Jake Heggie (composer of opera's "Dead Man Walking") built on a great idea.
December 3, 2000 |
We Americans pride ourselves on being a direct, sensible people. We celebrate straight shooters, straight talkers, straight whiskey and straight stories. We like explanations, not ambiguity. We expect our day in court, clear and rational arguments, unbiased judgments, no loose ends. We are not, as is Italy, an operatic nation. Just compare the original American western with its spaghetti imitation.
October 1, 2000 |
A towering black grid of square and rectangular cubicles looms at the back of a rehearsal hall stage. It is meant to represent both physical and psychological space--prison cells as much as the interior of the mind--and its very size suggests the insurmountability of the human conflicts unfolding in its shadow. On stage in front of the massive structure, a group of men and women sing a scene fraught with pain and discord.