1. Yes, the opera (music by Jake Heggie, libretto by Gene Scheer) is based on Herman Melville's novel.
2. Yes, Melville's novel begins with the line, "Call me Ishmael." But in the opera, the seaman Ishmael is renamed Greenhorn.
3. When the opera premiered in Dallas in 2010, the New York Times likened it to "a blaze of glory."
4. A high point happens, literally, when soprano Talise Trevigne (in the role of Pip, the cabin boy) sings an aerial aria, while balanced on a wire 30 feet above the stage.
5. The San Francisco Opera production follows four others: at Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and State Opera of South Australia.
Contact Richard Scheinin at 408-920-5069, read his stories