Post Cards from the Edge Heggie and Scheer’s Moby Dick - October 21, 2012, 2 pm - San Francisco War Memorial Opera House | Welcome to Fred’s Home Page

Heggie and Scheer’s Moby Dick - October 21, 2012, 2 pm - San Francisco War Memorial Opera House 

This was the third of three operas I saw in October in San Francisco as part of their Out-of-Town series.  The first was The Capulets and Montagues and the second was Lohengrin.

I wonder what Herman Melville would have thought of the opera.  It was sung in English and it took his huge tome and pared it down to some 69 pages of music and libretto.  He would have definitely been impressed by the set design - the rigging of the Pequod.  It was some of the most innovative set design I’ve seen.  Truth be told, in many cases, it distracted from the singers.

The voices were OK.  I’m not sure why, but I didn’t care for the music and libretto.  It could have been the music was too difficult to sing or that the libretto was just plain weird.  In any case, it just didn’t mesh with the voices.  I think the voice that stood out the most to me was Jonathan Lemalu’s Queequeg. 

It has been so long since I’ve read Moby Dick, I had to really reach back into my memory to remember some of the scenes portrayed.  There was the famous Spanish doubloon nailed to the mast.  The set design had a unique way of portraying the whaling boats with crew by projecting the outlines of the boats upon a slanted wall and the crew climbed the grade to “sit” in the boats. 

The opera ends with the destruction of the Pequod and the death of all but Greenhorn.  The captain of the Rachel rescues him and the last line is the first line of Melville’s novel, “Call me Ishmael.” 

The image is from the San Francisco Opera web page at

© Fred Searcy 2017