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That West Coast 'Moby-Dick' Is Ailing, Again

by Jerome Weeks 21 Feb 2012 9:00 AM

Three people down from illness — first the tenor, then the conductor, and now the star tenor-replacement, Ben Heppner, who originated Capt. Ahab in the Dallas Opera world premiere.


This time, star Ben Heppner, who originated Captain Ahab in the Dallas Opera’s world premiere, has cancelled his entire appearance with the San Diego Opera — after opening the show there Saturday night. The acclaimed Jake Heggie adaptation of the Herman Melville novel was a co-production with a number of companies in the U.S. and Canada, and the San Diego Opera was its West Coast premiere before moving to San Francisco in October. Tenor Heppner has been known for missing roles before this, notably Siegried in the Met’s new Gotterdammerung — which, ironically, let him replace the ailing Jay Hunter Morris in Moby-Dick.

Got all that?

But wait, there’s more. The San Diego opera company suffered another loss as well: Conductor Karen Keltner withdrew last week because of illness.