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SF Opera: A whale, a swan and 2 lovers

October 22, 2012 • Entertainment


In this photo taken Oct. 1, 2012 and provided by the San Francisco Opera, Jay Hunter Morris, portraying Captain Ahab, left, and Morgan Smith, portraying Starbuck, perform the opera Moby Dick in San Francisco. “Moby-Dick,” a hit at its premiere in Dallas in 2010 and successfully revived several times since, benefits from a savvy libretto by Gene Scheer, which boils down Melville’s sprawling novel to a coherent narrative, while maintaining chunks of his poetic language. (AP Photo/San Francisco Opera, Cory Weaver)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A whale, a swan, a pair of star-cross’d lovers: It made for an eclectic week at the San Francisco Opera.

With the company’s fall season in full swing, three different works took the stage on consecutive nights Thursday through Saturday. First was Jake Heggie’s intermittently enthralling adaptation of “Moby-Dick”; next, Bellini’s retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story, “I Capuleti e i Montecchi,” in a ravishingly sung, foolishly staged production; and, best of all, Wagner’s “Lohengrin,” featuring a break-out performance by emerging heldentenor Brandon Jovanovich.

“Moby-Dick,” a hit at its premiere in Dallas in 2010 and successfully revived several times since, benefits from a savvy libretto by Gene Scheer, which boils down Melville’s sprawling novel to a coherent narrative, while maintaining chunks of his poetic language.

Heggie’s music is energetic and appealingly melodic, with echoes of Puccini, Britten, Sibelius and even Bernard Herrmann film scores. The first act maintains an exciting momentum, but Act 2, which should hurtle us toward the catastrophic meeting with the great white whale, bogs down in static exchanges. The biggest weakness of the score is its failure to capture the Login to read more

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