Washington National Opera: Moby-Dick

Saturday, February 22, 2014 - Saturday, March 8, 2014

One man's obsession leaves a lethal wake of destruction in Jake Heggie's triumphant new opera of Melville's literary masterwork--featuring massive nautical sets, dazzling visual effects, an achingly beautiful score, and a talented cast.


$30.00 - $305.00

Run Time:

Approx. 3 hours

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Music by Jake Heggie
Libretto by Gene Scheer

Based on the novel by Herman Melville
East Coast premiere
Commissioned by The Dallas Opera Company
Production co-owned by The Dallas Opera, State Opera of South Australia, Calgary Opera, San Diego Opera, and San Francisco Opera
One man's obsession leaves a lethal wake of destruction in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's triumphant new opera of Herman Melville's 19th-century literary masterwork.
Bent on killing the fabled white whale that severed his leg, Captain Ahab relentlessly scours the ocean, without regard for the living souls who serve him aboard the Pequod. Among the loyal crew--including lookout Greenhorn, cabin boy Pip, and island native Queequeg--only first mate Starbuck recognizes the futility of their pursuits. As Ahab spirals further into madness with each rising wave, no one can escape the inevitable, epic showdown between man and beast, fanaticism and reason.
With its massive nautical sets, dazzling multimedia visual effects, and an achingly beautiful score, Jake Heggie's critically acclaimed opera sweeps audiences straight out to the high seas--in what is perhaps the most technically challenging opera WNO has ever mounted. Renowned American director Leonard Foglia (The End of the Affair, Master Class) leads a talented cast in performances conducted by Evan Rogister, a dynamic young American maestro in his WNO debut.
"Sumptuous and stirring! Theatrically stunning... epic in scale."
--San Francisco Chronicle

Captain Ahab: Carl Tanner
Ishmael (Greenhorn): Stephen Costello
Starbuck: Matthew Worth
Queequeg: Eric Greene
Pip: Talise Trevigne
Flask: Alexander Lewis

Conductor: Evan Rogister
Production by: Leonard Foglia
Set Designer: Robert Brill
Costume Designer: Jane Greenwood
Lighting Designer: Gavan Swift, based on an original design by Donald Holder
Projection Designer: Elaine McCarthy
Movement Director and Choreographer: Keturah Stickann

Performed in English with projected English titles. Titles may not be visible from the rear of the orchestra.


Musicologist Saul Lilienstein leads the Friday, Feb. 28 Opera Insight, starting 1 hour and 15 minutes before the performance and lasting 35–40 minutes. All other Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes.
Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera. 
These lectures are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of Moby-Dick.
--Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m.: Jake Heggie, interviewed by Michael Heaston
--Feb. 28 at 6:15 p.m.: Saul Lilienstein
--Mar. 2 at 1 p.m.: Paul Taylor (Technical Director), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen
--Mar. 5 at 6:30 p.m.: Marsha LeBoeuf (Costume Director), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen
--Mar. 8 at 6 p.m.: Evan Rogister (Conductor), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen

Following these performances:
Tuesday evening, February 25

Sunday matinee, March 2
Join WNO artists for a unique opportunity to ask questions about the production. 
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.

Performance Timing: Act I - 82 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Act II - 66 min. (Approx. 3 hours)

Watch and Listen

WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 1 of 7: Introduction and Prelude: Before dawn, on the deck of the Pequod (audio only)

WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 2 of 7: From morning to night on the ocean: The crew and their captain (audio only)

WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 3 of 7: Three months later: The whaling business, risks and confrontations (audio only)

WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 4 of 7: Intermission (audio only)

WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 5 of 7: One year later: Friendships, tragedies, and storms (audio only)

WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 6 of 7: In the morning: Moby Dick (audio only)

WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 7 of 7: Epilogue:Ismael (audio only)

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