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Heggie: Moby-Dick [Jay Hunter Morris, Stephen Costello, Morgan Smith] [Euroarts: 2059654] [Blu-ray] [2013]

Jay Hunter Morris , Stephen Costello , Leonard Foglia    Exempt   Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £29.21 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Heggie: Moby-Dick [Jay Hunter Morris, Stephen Costello, Morgan Smith] [Euroarts: 2059654] [Blu-ray] [2013] + Britten: The Rape Of Lucretia [Sarah Connolly, Christopher Maltman, Catherine Wyn-Rogers] [Opus Arte: OABD7135D] [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] + Britten: Gloriana [Susan Bullock, Toby Spence, Patricia Bardon, Mark Stone] [Opus Arte: OABD7134D] [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Price For All Three: £87.06

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Product details

  • Actors: Jay Hunter Morris, Stephen Costello, Morgan Smith, Jonathan Lemalu, Patrick Summers
  • Directors: Leonard Foglia
  • Writers: Jake Heggie, Gene Scheer, Eranest Hemingway
  • Producers: San Francisco Opera
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Nov 2013
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00FABG2QA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,459 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Along with Lucrezia Borgia this is the first EuroArts release in cooperation with the San Francisco Opera internationally recognized as one of the top opera companies in the world.

"Achingly beautiful, magnificently sung and gorgeously staged ... the audience responded with an eight-minutestanding ovation" (Associated Press).

Composer Jake Heggie, in his "finest creation since Dead Man Walking," and librettist Gene Scheer adapt Herman Melville's meditation on man and the sea into "a vibrant, compelling piece of musical theater" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Captain Ahab is played by the Grammy-winning tenor Jay Hunter Morris and principal guest conductor Patrick Summers conducts a cast of brilliant singing actors.

Bonus material (51 mins) includes artist interviews and production time lapse.

Audio Region code: All (worldwide)
Subtitles: English, German, French
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 142 + 51mins

Review

Against expectations, Jake Heggie and his librettist Gene Scheer have managed to craft an operatic version - unveiled in 2-12 at Dallas Opera - of Herman Melville s multi-textured masterpiece, which can be experienced not only without embarrasment but with respect and enjoyment --DVD of the Month, Opera Magazine March 2014


Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
Herman Melville's novel "Moby-Dick" has fascinated composers, resulting in a number of large orchestral and vocal settings. This grand opera by the American composer Jake Heggie with libretto by Gene Scheer is the most recent attempt to transform Melville's profoundly tumultuous work into music. The opera premiered in Dallas in 2010 and has since already been performed in several venues. The San Francisco Opera directed by Patrick Summers presented the opera in 2012 and produced this DVD version.

The opera and production are stunning in every way. Heggie's music is both declamatory and lyrical. It is distinctly modern but accessible while capturing the varied aspects of life at sea. The music is passionate and tragic with moments of tenderness and playfulness. The crew dances. In one of the best scenes of the opera, Captain Ahab and his mate Starbuck reminisce about life at home. The music for this moment has a nostalgic quality. In other scenes Heggie captures Ahab's madness and obsession with the destruction it brings in its wake.

Gene Scheer's libretto condenses Melville's 600 page novel into about two and one-half hours of music. The opera is well-;paced and captures the spirit of Melville's masterpiece. The large opening section of "Moby-Dick" which takes place on land is omitted entirely as are the long passages in the novel on whaling and whales. The opera takes place entirely at sea with much of the action telescoped and condensed. Melville's famous opening sentence "Call me Ishmael" is transformed to the final sentence of the opera.

The staging of this opera presented a task. The setting captures the large, foreboding quality of the Pequod replete with the whaler's three tall masts.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Comparisons inevitable. 2 May 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This set captures the stage experience well. As such it has much to recommend it. You won't get sea-sick tho as by large the deck stays on an even- keel despite the gales blowing.
And of course it is no Billy Budd.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MOBY-DICK TO SAVIOUR 26 Mar 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This performance of Heggie's Moby-Dick is a spectacular and very approachable production, with a cast to match. Not much else to add other than try it. Excellent Sound be it in 5.1 surround or Stereo with Picture quality to match. Highly recommendable experience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moby Dick: The Opera 3 Nov 2013
By G P Padillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Heggie's new opera, "Moby Dick" has proven to be an instant American operatic classic. The production, filmed live from the San Francisco Opera features state-of-the-art technology (lighting, projections, etc.) to seamlessly move the opera's scenes deftly and, not infrequently, adding a little "awe" power for the audience. But the show is not about effects, but rather about epic storytelling through music and the effects and stage designs are simply the platform for an overwhelming operatic treatment of one of our great, classic tales.

Heggie's score has moments that recall Britten (strongly) as well as other composers, yet, having heard most of his music to this point, stands on its own with a stamp of recognizable individuality. There were snippets and melodies of things that I "thought" I knew, but were (much like Humperdinck with his Hansel und Gretel) wholly original - yet undeniably familiar. That's a nice gift.

The individual performances are, to a one, exemplary and the commitment each singer gives to his or her role is commendable and clear. Jay Hunter Morris stepped into some big shoes (Ben Heppner was the celebrated original Ahab) and does so admirably. With a more pointed sound and less sweetness of tone than Heppner, Morris presents a different Ahab, but no less formidable and his madness is, at times, appropriately unnerving.

Each of Ahab's crew members are immediately likable, each earning the audiences sympathies, none, so much (for this viewer) as Stephen Costello's Greenhorn. Costello's attractive if tightly wound vibrato imbues Greenhorn with the innocent melancholy of an orphan loner, and his growing attachment to the "savage" Queequeg and the friendship that ensues between the pair of loners is infinitely touching, their duet at the opening of the second act, an emotional and musical highlight. As Queequeg, baritone Jonathan Lemalu is going to be a tough act to follow for anyone replacing him. Of Polynesian island physicality, and elaborately tattooed from the face down, Lemalu's "savage" is noble, and in many ways, the most thoughtful and honest shipmate.

Talise Trevigne's clear, high flying soprano and impish size make her perfect as Pip the cabin boy (and she gets to fly!) Morgan Smith's Starbuck is likewise perfect, his great aria that closes Act 1 revealing his torturous moral dilemma of how to save his shipmates from Ahab the Mad.

Patrick Summers, a Heggie favorite, leads the San Francisco forces with assurance, driving the music furiously in its storm scenes while allowing his singers plenty of room for lyrical expansion - which Heggie gives his characters plenty of.

I was happy to learn that after 5 or 6 productions so far, "Moby Dick" will be playing at even more companies in the upcoming years - a promising sign.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection on the Opera Stage 6 Nov 2013
By G. Stefan Lazar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is about as perfect a performance and recording as you will probably ever find. It is just as gripping on Blu-ray as it was when I saw it "live" in the opera house. The visuals are a little less on the small screen but still very impressive. However the bonus is seeing close up the singers physical presence and facial expressions. What this composition proves is that contemporary operas can be terrific without grating on one's eardrums. This is a MUST BUY for any opera lover. Now -- where is a video of Heggie's "Dead Man Walking?"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well-produced video of an appealing new opera 14 Dec 2013
By David E. Gregson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I have seen this opera live in an opera house on two occasions and feel that this Blu-ray video is superb. On a good sound system, you can hear more detail in the orchestra than you can in the theater. Fans of Jay Hunter Morris will not want to be without this disc. The production is stunning. Those who feel 21st-century music should be atonal and alienating will be disappointed by the appealing score. The work does, however, go its own way, not treading in the footsteps of tonal writers such as Philip Glass and John Adams. Jake Heggie's score may represent a form of neo-romanticism. Gene Scheer's libretto is exceptionally thoughtful and literate. Performances are uniformly excellent.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Great American Novel to Great American Opera 29 May 2014
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Herman Melville's novel "Moby-Dick" has fascinated composers, resulting in a number of large orchestral and vocal settings. This grand opera by the American composer Jake Heggie with libretto by Gene Scheer is the most recent attempt to transform Melville's profoundly tumultuous work into music. The opera premiered in Dallas in 2010 and has since already been performed in several venues. The San Francisco Opera directed by Patrick Summers presented the opera in 2012 and produced this DVD version. In addition to this DVD, I had the opportunity to see a stunning live performance of "Moby-Dick" by the Washington Opera in its east coast premiere early this year.

The opera and production are stunning in every way. Heggie's music is both declamatory and lyrical. It is distinctly modern but accessible while capturing the varied aspects of life at sea. The music is passionate and tragic with moments of tenderness and playfulness. The crew dances. In one of the best scenes of the opera, Captain Ahab and his mate Starbuck reminisce about life at home. The music for this moment has a nostalgic quality. In other scenes Heggie captures Ahab's madness and obsession with the destruction it brings in its wake.

Gene Scheer's libretto condenses Melville's 600 page novel into about two and one-half hours of music. The opera is well-paced and captures the spirit of Melville's masterpiece. The large opening section of "Moby-Dick" which takes place on land is omitted entirely as are the long passages in the novel on whaling and whales. The opera takes place entirely at sea with much of the action telescoped and condensed. Melville's famous opening sentence "Call me Ishmael" is transformed to the final sentence of the opera.

The staging of this opera presented a task. The setting captures the large, foreboding quality of the Pequod replete with the whaler's three tall masts. There are also scenes in the whaling boats with their harpooners and, of course, the large scene of destruction at the end. The settings were presented convincingly.

The vocal lines in this opera are difficult in range and mirror the speech patterns of the characters. Tenor Jay Hunter Morris rants and raves as Captain Ahab. In addition to his singing, Morris acts his role convincingly with his movements, gestures, and with the glints in his eye. Jonathan Lemalau offers a sympathetic portrayal of the harpooner Queequeg, his face and body replete with tattoos while Steven Costello plays "Greenhorn" or Ishmael, the lonely new crew member. Ismael's role in the opera is reduced from his central role as the narrator in Melville's novel. Morgan Smith portrays the anguished Starbuck and captures the first mate's moral dilemma when he is presented with the opportunity to kill his mad captain. The opera includes an expanded role for the cabinboy Pip, performed by the only female member of the cast, Talise Trevigne. With tambourine, "flying", and subtle commentary on the action Trevigne's Pip is a highlight of the production.

This set presents the entire opera on a single disk. The second disk consists of interviews with the composer, librettist, and several of the singers.

Heggie's "Moby-Dick" joins a growing list of American operas, including Joplin's "Treemonisha", Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", and Copland's "The Tender Land", among others. It is the second opera in recent years setting an American classic, following Robert Aldridge's 2007 "Elmer Gantry" with libretto by Herschel Garfein. Heggie's "Moby-Dick" is a grand accomplishment in American opera.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a discovery 6 Feb 2014
By Eva Nadai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I saw this opera on TV and loved it. Even for classical music lovers it is not easy to enjoy contemporary music. Moby Dick is a rare exception. Music, singing, producton... fantastic.
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