Tag Archives: Jay Hunter Morris

Man vs. Whale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onK0Byi1UIY

Watch an epic battle of Man vs. Whale, Moby-Dick Edition, above

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Moby-Dick Sneak Peek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9phSfg89GFw

Get a sneak peek of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick above

Moby-Dick sets sail for one last time today, wowing audiences with masterful staging. In case you’ve missed the Moby-Dick love these past few weeks, check out a few of the below articles and see why Moby-Dick is a classic American opera everyone should experience.

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Moby-Dick Highlights Reel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EykR_ympqjg

Watch the best of Moby-Dick above

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Moby-Dick Timelapse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPoh_LgAPwc

Watch the Moby-Dick set come to life above

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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Moby-Dick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd-Z4-3Ip_Q

Moby-Dick sets sail for one last time today, wowing audiences with masterful staging. In case you’ve missed the Moby-Dick love these past few weeks, we’ve collected a bunch of articles and videos for you to check out and see why Moby-Dick is a classic American opera everyone should experience.

Get To Know Moby-Dick

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

7 Questions with Jay Hunter Morris

In this edition of questions, learn more about Jay Hunter Morris, the man behind Captain Ahab.

Talking Life, Opera, and Moby-Dick with Musa Ngqungwana

Musa Ngqungwana’s life has always been filled with music. Growing up in Port Elizabeth and later Cape Town, Ngqungwana’s culture was infused with music. There were songs sung at births, weddings, celebrations, songs sung at death, and even gender specific songs sung perhaps to a sweetheart. With the advent of Christian culture and dogma introduced by the British missionaries in early 20th Century South Africa, a huge choral movement swept through the nation and a slew of community choirs and plays opened up. By the time Ngqungwana was born, it had become customary to have community choirs and neighborhood plays. It was at middle school that a young Ngqungwana joined the choir to be close to a girl he loved at the time. While Ngqungwana says he “failed miserably” to win the girl’s affections, the choir stole his heart and he kept singing in the years to come.

5 Questions with Joshua Guerrero

Joshua Guerrero didn’t grow up dreaming of a career in opera, and his path towards opera stardom is anything but ordinary. He always loved singing. Yet, it was only after Guerrero joined a choir at the seminary where he studied theology that his opera journey began.

Morgan Smith on Starbuck and Contemporary Opera

Throughout his career, baritone Morgan Smith has portrayed everything from traditional roles (Escamillo in Carmen at Vancouver Opera) to exciting new contemporary work (Lassiter in Craig Bohmler’s upcoming Riders of the Purple Sage at Arizona Opera).

Moby-Dick: No Book Report Required

This is the perfect opera to get the would-be reader – intimidated by the sheer size of Melville’s book – a rich, live experience of the Moby-Dick story.

Music Monday: Moby-Dick Overture

Melville’s tale of obsession, the nature of good and evil, and the search for the elusive, titular, white whale is set to an evocative score by famed American composer, Jake Heggie (Dead Man Walking). When Heggie describes tackling the mammoth tale, he speaks of finally finding the music of Moby’s universe in four simple chords. These chords capture the spirit and yearning inherent in Melville’s story and resurface throughout the rest of the score, in a haunting fashion.

Ship Anatomy: Moby-Dick Edition

Recreating a ship on stage can take many forms. A ship can be represented by actors physically moving their bodies to form a boat on stage, or it can be a giant prop that the story’s action revolves around. An image of a ship can even be projected on a scrim on stage to represent what’s not physically on stage. In Robert Brill’s grand set design for Moby-Dick, the ship consumes the entire stage. The Pequod, as the whaling ship is called, can be seen from various sides depending on the act and there are multiple parts to make this ship seem very real to singers and audience members alike.

James Conlon Invites You To Moby-Dick

Maestro Conlon is very excited about conducting the upcoming production, Moby-Dick, opening October 31st. Check out why he loves Jake Heggie’s opera and why he thinks you should see it too.

Whale Watching

Moby-Dick Highlights Reel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EykR_ympqjg

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Win Big with LA Opera & In the Heart of the Sea

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, you’ve probably heard that the great Ron Howard is releasing his next film, In the Heart of the Sea, on December 11. You probably also know that it stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, and Brendan Gleeson, and that it’s based on a true story of a whaling ship terrorized by a giant sperm whale in 1820. But, did you know that this story inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick?

To celebrate LA Opera’s current production of Moby-Dick and Warner Bros.’ upcoming In the Heart of the Sea, here’s a sweepstakes and a giveaway you can’t miss!

WIN A TRIP TO THE PREMIERE IN NEW YORK CITY

Enter for a chance to win a trip for two to the official red carpet premiere of Warner Bros.’ In the Heart of the Sea in New York City.

Sweepstakes Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • Roundtrip Airfare for 2 to New York City
  • 2 Nights Accommodation at the luxurious Viceroy Hotel, New York.
  • 2 Tickets to the Official Red Carpet Premiere of In the Heart of the Sea

TO ENTER sweepstakes click here

For more information on the movie click here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L4KvJv_O-c

For official rules click here

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, must be a California US resident 18 years or older, void where prohibited, ends 11/30/2015.
In the Heart of the Sea
© 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

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Community Educator Bill Green on Moby-Dick

Imagine that we lived during the time of Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Wagner, and the other great composers of the classical repertoire and we could hear them share their thoughts and feelings during the final rehearsals of their operas before opening night. Thanks to today’s technology, we have the opportunity to hear composers, directors, artists and production team members share their thoughts about new operas being created right now.

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015)

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015)

I am a volunteer Community Educator for LA Opera, traveling through Southern California talking opera to civic and social organizations, philanthropic groups, and schools. One of the best parts of volunteering is that we get to do our own research and write our own talks about Opera. For the company’s current production, Moby-Dick, I thoroughly enjoyed learning not only about Melville’s classic (did you know that American artist Rockwell Kent designed cover images for the 1930 edition of the novel?), but also learning more about Jake Heggie’s adaptation. Heggie is a young contemporary American composer who has created a great new opera based on the book that has been praised as “the great American novel”—no simple task. He has given many interviews describing his approach to presenting the story in operatic form, and many are available on-line. In Heggie’s interviews, he explains the choices he made in composing music for the various parts of the story, the arc of the music from the start of the first act to the dramatic conclusion of the opera, the music he chose to create for each of the main characters, and other insights into the work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNbqu-snJZk

Many opera lovers today approach contemporary opera with trepidation, preferring the familiar stories and music from operas they have been exposed to for years. The resources now available on the internet can help make contemporary opera more approachable, by providing insight into new operas by the composers, directors, and performers into the music. LA Opera’s current production of Heggie’s Moby-Dick offers you a chance to see a great production of an epic American opera, and the internet can provide you with a wealth of information you can review before you head to the opera house to enhance your experience.

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Moby-Dick by the Numbers

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Moby-Dick is an epic production with some pretty impressive numbers to back it. The Moby-Dick set weighs approximately 95,000 pounds. This number includes the masts, rope, sails and cyc (what’s a cyc, you may ask, find out here) – all of which come together on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage to form the Pequod. The Pequod’s masts on stage are 36 feet tall, towering over the opera stage, making the ship come to life (click here to learn more about the anatomy of the Pequod).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EykR_ympqjg

Everyone knows the Pequod wouldn’t be complete without 1 fiery cauldron to render whale blubber. Speaking of whale blubber, there are 85 pounds of fabricated whale blubber used in the production of Moby-Dick. There’s no whale blubber without harpoons and other weapons the crew aboard the Pequod use to hunt.

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James Conlon Invites You To Moby-Dick

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Maestro Conlon is very excited about conducting the upcoming production, Moby-Dick, opening October 31st. Check out why he loves Jake Heggie’s opera and why he thinks you should see it too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPXajVAABvw

Moby-Dick is a classic American tale that’s wonderful to experience live. Yet, to enjoy Moby-Dick fully, take a look behind-the-scenes to see how the production has come together.

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#TBT: Jay Hunter Morris in Grendel

Before he captained the Pequod, Jay Hunter Morris debuted at LA Opera as Unferth—singing in Old English—in the world premiere of Grendel by composer Elliot Goldenthal and director Julie Taymor. The warrior Unferth tries to best the monster Grendel, but falls short of his heroic expectations (which serves as a source of comic relief in the opera) and is mocked for his shortcomings. Based on the novel of the same name by John Gardner, the opera follows the story of the titular monster and his war against the humans that shunned him. He gobbles up his enemies throughout the show, in attempt to reconcile his idealized view of humanity with the realities of “modern man.” The opera is a fable with very real world connections.

Jay Hunter Morris as Unferth in Grendel (2006)

Jay Hunter Morris as Unferth in Grendel (2006)

Jay Hunter Morris will play Captain Ahab in our upcoming production, Moby-Dick. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. To find out more about our current season, check out our website.

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Captain’s Log: Reporting For Duty

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Jay Hunter Morris first appeared in Los Angeles in 1994 at the Mark Taper Forum in Terrence McNally’s Master Class, with Zoe Caldwell portraying Maria Callas. There, as the character Anthony Candolini, he sang the aria from Tosca, “Recondita armonia”. He first sang it (as scripted) somewhat affectedly (and was marked down), but then repeated it with such purity of feeling that his mentor, overcome with emotion, admitted, “I have never really listened to it before.” An enduring memory of Morris’ is that of him, with Ms. Caldwell on his arm, regularly patronizing (what was then) Otto’s Restaurant after performances and schmoozing with the likes of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

Moving ahead to 2005, Mr. Morris, in the role of Mario Cavaradossi, sang not only that aria, but the entire opera for LAO’s student matinee performances of Tosca, also covering that role for the regular performances. Interestingly enough, Morris had never sung the complete opera until he returned here for that revival of this LAO favorite.

For the 2005 stagings, Jay Hunter, mindful of the operatic lore associated with various on-stage anomalous happenings during performances of Tosca (the springy trampoline, the suicidal firing squad, etc.), took whatever precautions he could think of to assure that nothing untoward would happen to him. In Tosca the firing squad is typically composed of six to eight supers. In LAO’s production, some of the firing squad fire loud blanks; the rest fire wads of material that go, “Poof!” Jay Hunter recognized that, given the close quarters separating Cavaradossi from the Firing Squad and observing the high exit velocity of the Poofing material, reasoned that, if the Poofing material hit him below the waist, there was a finite possibility of an accidental impact transmogrifying him (at least on a temporary basis) from voice type tenor to that of countertenor. So, during rehearsals, Jay Hunter gave firm instructions to his Firing Squad, “Aim high, fellas!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd-Z4-3Ip_Q

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7 Questions with Jay Hunter Morris

MobyDick5pub

Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab in San Francisco Opera’s 2013 production of Moby-Dick

This Halloween, Jay Hunter Morris reprises his role as Captain Ahab in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick. It will be the first time he’s performed the opera in Los Angeles, coming fresh from a year of tremendous roles in The Flying Dutchman and Cold Mountain. Here’s our Jay Hunter Morris Edition of Questions.

What’s it like to revisit the role of Ahab for the 4th time?

Thrilling. Ahab is #1 on my wish list every year. The music has been simmering in my mind, and I can’t wait to try again, there are so many options for me as a singer!

Ahab is complex, to say the least. What do you like best about the role?

The madness. Can you imagine the horror of being attacked by such a sea beast, surviving in those days, the agony endured, the festering, acidic anger, the single-minded drive for revenge? AND, I must embody the power, the charm and charisma that he must wield in order to lead grown men willingly to their death. It’s a mighty task, a privilege granted to few, and I am so grateful to step into his cloak once again.

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