I am thrilled that San Francisco Opera can be a part of Jake’s new opera. The work Jake and I have done together has been some of the most meaningful of my professional life – his ability to write for the human voice is exemplary and his music has an infectious lyricism with huge international appeal.I'm sorry to say, I thought Jake Heggie's last opera for San Francisco, Dead Man Walking, was weak. I remember Flicka's great scene as the mother of the condemned man, and I remember the unaccompanied spiritual Susan Graham sang, and that's about it as far as the music goes.
This will be a major new work by a major American talent, and we are proud to be working with Dallas on this commission.
And I cannot imagine an effective libretto being devised from Moby-Dick. It is the Great American Novel, as far as I am concerned, and it is sui generis in form. Much that is great about the book is in the language and the treatise on whaling, neither of which will translate well to the operatic stage. Not to mention, a tenor as Ahab??
It's not a secret that Stewart Wallace's opera based on Amy Tan's novel The Bonesetter's Daughter will be in a near-future San Francisco Opera season. Wallace's previous, Harvey Milk, was decent theater and musically unmemorable. If David Gockley is freely handing out commissions, he can do better than giving them to Wallace and Heggie.
Thanks to Maury for the Dallas Opera press release link, which has allowed me to scoop everybody around here on this item.