January 11, 2018
Utah Opera’s 40th Anniversary Season Continues with New Production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s “Moby-Dick”, January 20-28
(Left) Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg and Joshua Dennis as Greenhorn; (Right) Utah Opera Production Studios constructs set for “Moby-Dick”
(Left) Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg and Joshua Dennis as Greenhorn; (Right) Utah Opera Production Studios constructs set for “Moby-Dick”

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (January 11, 2018) — 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.



Moby-Dick Creators’ Panel
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Thompson Chamber Music Hall, University of Utah
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Join composer Jake Heggie, librettist Gene Scheer, and stage director Kristine McIntyre as they discuss their roles in the creation of Utah Opera’s “Moby-Dick.” The presentation will also include a short performance of numbers from “Moby-Dick” by Utah Opera Resident Artists, and a Q&A session with University of Utah music students. Open to the public—no prior registration required.

Jake Heggie Master Class
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Thompson Chamber Music Hall, University of Utah
2:00pm - 4:00pm
University of Utah vocal music students perform songs by Jake Heggie, and receive insight and responses from Mr. Heggie and “Moby-Dick” librettist Gene Scheer.
Open to the public—no prior registration required.

Learn Before You Go
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's education and community outreach department facilitates an online "learn before you go" series prior to each opera. Online learning materials are prepared by music professors at local universities including Utah Valley University, University of Utah, and Brigham Young University. “Moby-Dick” materials are created by Utah Opera Principal Coach Dr. Carol Anderson. They are available online at www.utahopera.org/onlinelearning.

Libretti & Libations
Utah Opera presents Libretti & Libations, a promotion with Salt Lake City's and Park City's top mixologists offering craft cocktails inspired by the storyline and characters of each opera. Participants are encouraged to post photos of the craft cocktails on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UtahOperaSips to enter a contest to win a pair of tickets to the opera. For more details about Libretti & Libations and a complete list of participating restaurants, visit www.utahopera.org/libations.

Opera-tunities Night
Students in grades 7 through 12 are invited to attend Utah Opera's final dress rehearsal on Thursday, January 18 at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre through "Opera-tunities Night" for free for public/charter school students and their accompanying teachers, and $5 for private/home schooled students and their accompanying teachers. Visit www.usuoeducation.org/index.php/for-schools/opera-tunities for more information, or call 801-533-6683.

Red Carpet Event
Opening night on January 20 will feature a red carpet event where patrons can pose for a free photo. Photos will be posted on the Utah Opera Facebook page, allowing participants the chance to tag themselves during their night out on the town. Visit www.facebook.com/utahopera for more information. The starting time of the red carpet event is 6:30 PM.

Opera Prelude Lecture
Utah Opera Principal Coach Dr. Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge for ticket holders, in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South) one hour before curtain for each performance.

Q&A Session
Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session, free of charge for ticket holders, immediately following each performance in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South).


About Utah Opera

Utah Opera, established by Glade Peterson in 1978, has been part of the Utah community for 40 years and engages audiences through inspiring operatic performances. The opera company presents four annual productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and participates each summer in the Deer Valley® Music Festival in Park City. In addition to producing classic works from the operatic repertoire, Utah Opera also emphasizes the importance of contemporary opera, with notable achievements including the 1996 world premiere of David Carlson’s Dreamkeepers and the co-commissioning and Western U.S. premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath in 2007.

Utah Opera operates a full production studio where productions are rehearsed and costumes, props and set pieces are designed, made, rented out and stored. The opera currently has 19 full sets and costumes for 50 full productions in its inventory. Utah Opera also offers a Resident Artist Program, a nationally recognized young artist training program for professional singers and pianists who perform for more than 70,000 students each year free of charge through the organization’s education and outreach activities. The Utah Symphony has performed as part of the Opera’s productions since the company’s founding, and the two organizations merged in 2002.

Utah Opera’s current Artistic Director, Christopher McBeth, joined the company in the fall of 2000 and took over primary artistic leadership in 2003. Under his leadership, Utah Opera productions have received acclaim for introducing audiences to the next generation of fine singing actors. Mr. McBeth strives to provide distinguished quality productions that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition.

For more information, visit utahopera.org.

The Utah Opera 40th Anniversary Season Sponsor is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.


Utah Opera Presents

By Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre
50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101

January 20, 22, 24, 26 | 7:30 PM
January 28 | 2 PM

Composed by Jake Heggie
Libretto by Gene Scheer
Sung in English with English supertitles
Premiere: The Dallas Opera, Texas, 2010
Utah Opera Premiere

Captain Ahab: Roger Honeywell
Greenhorn: Joshua Dennis
Starbuck: David Adam Moore
Queequeg: Musa Ngqungwana
Flask: Joseph Gaines
Stubb: Craig Irvin
Pip: Jasmine Habersham
Captain Gardiner/Spanish Sailor: Jesús Vicente Murillo*
Daggoo: Babatunde Akinboboye
Tashtego: Keanu Aiono-Netzler
Nantucket Sailor: Anthony Buck

Stage Director: Kristine McIntyre
Conductor: Joseph Mechavich
Chorus Master: Michaella Calzaretta
Set Design: Erhard Rom
Costume Design: Jessica Jahn
Lighting Design: Marcus Dilliard
Choreographer: Daniel Charon
Assist. to the Choreographer: Natalie Desch
Properties Master: Kelly Nickle
Wig/Makeup Design: Yancey J. Quick
Asst. Director: Octavio Cardenas
Stage Manager: Erin Thompson-Janszen
Asst. Stage Manager: Emily Duffin
2nd Asst. Stage Manager: Annie Brantley
Principal Coach: Carol Anderson
Guest Coach: Stephanie Rhodes
Supertitle Musician/Rehearsal Pianist: Robert Bosworth*

*Current Utah Opera Resident Artist

Each performance will last approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes with one intermission.

Presenting Sponsor: AHE/CI Trust
Production Sponsor: Janet Q. Lawson Foundation
Set and Costume Sponsor: Hal and Diane Brierley
Opera Conductor Sponsor: Patricia A. Richards and William K. Nichols
Opera Artist Sponsor: Christopher Oglesby—sponsored by Vicki and Michael Callen
Opening Performance Sponsor: Carol Franc Buck Foundation
Floral Season Sponsor: Every Blooming Thing
Cast Party Sponsor: Bambara
VIP Intermission Reception Sponsor: J. Wongs
VIP Intermission Opera Wine Sponsor: Empress Theatre

Tickets, priced from $15-$100, are available for purchase through utahopera.org or by calling (801) 533-6683.

# # #

Press contacts

Shuman Associates
shumanpr@shumanassociates.net | (212) 315-1300

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
Renée Huang | Director of Public Relations
rhuang@usuo.org | (801) 869-9027

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