Wall Street Journal Not Wild About Moby-Dick

As Peter pointed out in Monday’s Leading Off, reviews of the Dallas Opera’s Moby-Dick have been uniformly glowing. Perhaps that is why Heidi Waleson (what an appropriate name), coming to the party a bit later than other reviewers, found fault with the production. As a writer, you want to offer a unique point of view. In any case, here’s how she wrapped her piece in the Wall Street Journal today:

For the most part, the opera was engaging and well paced. Still, I longed for some dissonance, an edge to the music that would awaken a visceral sense of terror. Comparisons to Benjamin Britten’s “Billy Budd” are hard to avoid: Britten’s eerie, less plush, less immediately pleasing score finally leaves a more lasting impression of an all-male drama on the high seas. Melville’s novel was a wild, experimental leap for mid-19th-century American fiction. Rather than capitalize on the outlandishness of that grand, messy creation, Messrs. Heggie and Scheer and their producers tamed this ferocious monster into a farm-raised fish suitable for the cautious palates of modern opera audiences.

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