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Lawrence Schenbeck
PS Audio, May 2014

Singing and acting are uniformly superb, with honors across the board to Jay Hunter Morris (Ahab), Stephen Costello (Greenhorn), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Jonathan Lemalu (Queequeg), and Talise Trevigne (Pip). Visuals are often astonishing; they may register almost as strongly on this video presentation as they did in the theater. The recording…serves the performances well. © 2014 PS Audio Read complete review

Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, March 2014

The stage production…is amazing…

Jay Hunter Morris is a superb [Ahab]. Trevigne’s Pip is lovingly amusing…Robert Orth…creates the lovable character of Stubb. The high tenor vocalizations of Stephen Costello (Greenhorn) are potent and telling. Morgan Smith’s Starbuck is…sturdy in character and voice. There is much to praise in the quaint Queequeq of Jonathan Lemalu. Chorus and orchestra are…shipshape. Summers drives all with the power of a hurricane or Moby Dick himself. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Patrick Stearns
Gramophone, February 2014

HEGGIE, J.: Moby-Dick (San Francisco Opera, 2012) (NTSC) 2059658
HEGGIE, J.: Moby-Dick (San Francisco Opera, 2012) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 2059654

Jay Hunter Morris gives Ahab a raspy edge, but visually a memorable sense of awe when MobyDick is sighted. Singing with more ease and richness of tone than anytime previously, Stephen Costello (Greenhorn) projects a sense of profound personal revelation in the final moments when, rescued at sea, he owns his own name (‘Call me Ishmael’). …the Gibraltar-like baritone of Morgan Smith (Starbuck) is most consistently magnetic. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, January 2014

It is a real delight to find a modern opera composer who relishes real melodic lines. The whole work is beautifully judged, and thoroughly deserves this video recording. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, December 2013

Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick…is a masterful work that should appeal to a broad range of opera mavens.

The cast is excellent in this recording. Jay Hunter Morris…sings Ahab with a powerful fanaticism. He is simply brilliant throughout the opera, convincingly becoming his character. Morgan Smith as Starbuck and Stephen Costello as Greenhorn (Ishmael) are also splendid. But on their level also is Talise Trevigne in the trouser role of Pip, the cabin boy. Patrick Summers draws excellent playing from the SFO Orchestra…

The opera’s sets are quite brilliantly imagined here…The lighting effects are equally effective…

The sound reproduction is very vivid, the picture clarity sharp and the camera work spot-on. All in all, this is a splendid recording. Highest recommendations! © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review

Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, December 2013

I still remember being moved, even a little scared, at the old black and white movie version of this classic tale, with Gregory Peck being dragged under water by the white whale at the film’s end. Heggie’s treatment also captures the feel of Melville’s dark allegory on obsession and class structure with not-too-subtle religious undertones. In particular, Scheer’s Captain Ahab is a dictatorial and punishing leader with only his beliefs and his sense of mission at hand. However, the fantastic performance by Jay Hunter Morris also lends an element of believability. This is a character who is clearly troubled and could be seen as a figure not distantly removed from several twentieth-century charismatic fanatics whose cults have ended in tragedy.

Like other scores produced by Jake Heggie, the tonal language is completely approachable, his orchestrations are lush but not “gimmicky” and emotional impact is what this score, like all good theatre scores, is all about. It is a very impressive work.

I also enjoyed the work of video director Frank Zamacona, who heightens the mood with tight close-ups for the more emotionally charged moments and then pulling back to capture the piece’s broad vistas of sea and shipboard. There are even a few video shots of water and waves that help to establish both the realistic setting as well as a sense of aloneness, removed from help.

The cast is uniformly great; notably tenor Stephen Costello as Greenhorn (later known as “Ishmael”, as in the novel’s famous opening narration: “Call me Ishmael”), baritone Morgan Smith as Starbuck, and bass Jonathan Lemalu as Queequeg. In fact, I had never heard Lemalu before but, being a New Zealand-born Samoan, his inclusion in the cast is also a realistic touch for which I was grateful.

Seeing and hearing this new work is a pleasure and the production values in this new Blu-ray release are very good. Highly recommended! © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

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7:09:39 AM, 4 September 2015
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