THE FIRST SHALL BECOME LAST: When Jake Heggie met with local arts writers last month, he spoke mostly in abstract terms about Moby-Dick, which the Dallas Opera will debut in April. Some of that might have been because he was still writing the music and understandably wasn’t quite ready to commit to some of the concepts. Fast forward a month, and it sounds like the opera is nearing completion. In fact, he tells the Calgary Herald he just finished the score last week. He spoke with the paper ahead of a recital he is giving in the city tonight. But the paper was mostly interested in Moby-Dick because the Calgary Opera co-commissioned the piece with the Dallas Opera, along with San Francisco Opera and San Diego Opera. While speaking with the paper, Heggie dropped another interesting nugget. He says the opera’s libretto is imagined as more of a memoir, rather than as action unfolding in the present. “So instead of the first line of the opera being ‘Call me Ishmael,’ it’s the last line – because the author has lived the experience, and now he’ll use his imagination to draw from what happened to him, to create this book.” So now you’ll be the smart one during intermission when everyone else is wondering why they didn’t hear the book’s famous opening.
MUSIC BITS: Preston Jones says we’ll be remembering Tuesday night’s Jay-Z show in December when we’re talking about the best shows of the years. (dfw.com) … Spune, Weekly Tape Deck and Gorilla Vs. Bear have all announced free day parties at South by Southwest featuring a who’s who of local acts. (dallasobserver.com) … Josh Abbott says he’d rather be well-known in a couple of important places than sorta known in a lot of places. (dallasnews.com)
AND THE WINNER IS: Congratulations to Phillip Morales, the winner of TeCo’s 8th Annual New Play Competition. That honor comes with a $1,000 check. The Oak Cliff native’s one-act play, Back In the Day: Or How To Transcend The Mix-Tape, was voted as the audience favorite for the three-week competition. Meanwhile, Jonathan Norton’s one-act play, 84, took the top spot among the competition’s critics and reading committee. The SMU master’s student takes home a round-trip ticket on Southwest.