Tag Archives: San Diego Opera

Moby-Dick Marathon set records

A capacity crowd gathers in the Jacobs Family Gallery to hear the conclusion of Moby-Dick

The 16th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon is now one for the history books, in so many ways. High media interest and unseasonably warm weather for January encouraged record numbers of visitors to drop in for a look-see. Over the course of the weekend (January 6-8, 2012) more than 2,900 visitors came to the Museum. Many stayed and listened longer than ever before to the book often described as the greatest work of American literature.

Among the more than 150 readers, many notables particpated, including Congressman Barney Frank, Congressman William Keating, Mayor Jon Mitchell and several former New Bedford Mayors, as well as Peter Whittemore, the great, great grandson of Herman Melville.

Nearly 100 guests enjoyed the ticketed buffet dinner in the Jacobs Family Gallery on Friday evening (January 6), which kicked off a weekend of activities surrounding the Marathon.

Following dinner, a lecture titled “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” presented by the Melville Society’s Dr. Timothy Marr (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), was attended by 187 Melville fans in the Cook Memorial Theater.

Melville Society scholars were kept busy with questions throughout the event, holding court in the Wattles Family Gallery, discussing all matters Moby-Dick and Melville. With much good humor, they were also peppered with perplexing queries of the widest sort, posed by the public in the Stump the Scholars II program on Saturday morning. General order and alacrity of the proceedings were ably kept by the moderator, Michael Dyer, Maritime Curator, with laughs aplenty throughout.

Congressman Barney Frank

One highlight of the weekend was a performance at the Seamen’s Bethel by the critically acclaimed tenor, Jonathan Boyd. He performed the hymn from Chapter 9 to music by Philip Sainton, penned for the film score for John Huston’s 1956 film. Boyd will star as “Greenhorn” in Jake Heggie’s new opera, “Moby Dick,” set to premiere at the San Diego Opera in February. A contingent of museum trustees and members will travel to the West Coast to see it.

Rev. Dr. Edward R. Dufresne delivered an inspired reading of Father Mapple’s sermon on Jonah and the Whale in the Bethel.

And again, this year’s Marathon was live streaming on the museum’s website and was viewed by unprecedented numbers; more on that in another post.

Moby-Dick Marathon weekend features acclaimed tenor, Jan. 6-8

The 16th annual Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates the 160th anniversary of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events, January 6 – 8, 2012, including a performance by the critically acclaimed American tenor, Jonathan Boyd. Admission is free.

On Friday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m. the weekend kicks off with a ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar in the Jacobs Family Gallery. For tickets to the dinner ($25), call (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.

Dinner will be followed by a free public lecture titled “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” presented by Dr. Timothy Marr, at 7:15 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater. Co-editor of “Ungraspable Phantom: Essays on Moby-Dick,” Professor Marr teaches American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as an executive member of the Melville Society Cultural Project and is a contributor to the Melville and the Digital Humanities project of the Melville Electronic Library.

On Saturday, January 7 at 10:00 a.m., “Stump the Scholars II,” returns by popular demand – a free program in which the audience is invited to pose questions to Melville Society scholars on all matters Moby-Dick in the Cook Memorial Theater. Patterned after NPR’s popular quiz show, “Wait, wait, don’t tell me,” prizes will be awarded to those who can stump the scholars.

At 11:30 a.m. in the Bourne Building, Melville Society members will read many of the 80 brief Extracts related to whales and whaling, which Melville included before Chapter 1.

At noon, the Moby-Dick Marathon begins with “Call me Ishmael” – the most famous opening line in American literature. With more than 150 scheduled readers, the marathon will continue through the night, ending early Sunday afternoon. All reading slots have been booked. The public is cordially invited to come and go at any time during the marathon, or stay for the entire 25 hours and win a prize.

On Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m., marathon participants will walk next door to the historic Seamen’s Bethel (est. 1832) – located at 15

Tenor Jonathan Boyd will sing at the marathon, Jan. 7. Boyd stars in Jake Heggie's new opera, Moby-Dick, which premieres at the San Diego Opera in February. (photo: http://www.uzanartists.com)

Johnny Cake Hill for the reading of Chapters 7, 8, and 9, titled “The Chapel,” The Pulpit,” and “The Sermon” – all three chapters take place in the original “Whaleman’s Chapel.” This segment will feature a performance by Jonathan Boyd, the critically acclaimed American tenor starring in the San Diego Opera’s co-production of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” a new opera hailed “a triumph” by the Dallas Morning News. Boyd has made recent notable debuts at Opéra de Nice and Opéra de Toulon, and has performed with opera companies throughout the United States. He will sing the hymn from Chapter 9.

Readers and guests are also invited to “Chat with a Melville Scholar” from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Wattles Family Gallery or take a guided tour of the “Imagining Moby!” exhibit with Dr. Robert Wallace, Northern Kentucky University.

Chapter 40, “Midnight, Forecastle” will be performed in the Cook Memorial Theater by members of Culture*Park, a theater and performing arts collaborative.

The Museum’s website http://www.whalingmuseum.org will provide live streaming of the marathon throughout the weekend. Tweet the marathon with hashtag #MDM16.

Three related exhibits during the marathon include, “Imagining Moby!,” “Visualizing Melville” and the 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels. “Imagining Moby!” showcases the collection of Melville scholar, Dr. Elizabeth A. Schultz, including works by Leonard Baskin, Richard Ellis and Rockwell Kent in the Centre Street Gallery, Level 2. “Visualizing Melville” pairs items from the Museum’s collections with Melville’s vivid text, including “Quakers with a vengeance” and “a heathenish array of monstrous clubs and spears” in the Changing Gallery, Level 2. The 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels feature movie memorabilia displayed in the windows of the Research Library.

Images related to the book will also be projected in the Cook Memorial Theater throughout the marathon, presented by the Museum’s youth apprentices.

A midwinter tradition, attracting hundreds of Melville fans from around the world, the marathon marks the anniversary of Melville’s January 1841 departure from the port of New Bedford and Fairhaven aboard the whale ship, Acushnet.

Refreshments will be available throughout the Marathon.

This year’s marathon is a program of MOBY! – a partnership of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park to celebrate the iconic tale of the ‘Great White Whale’ and is funded through a grant from the Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (ECHO), administered by the United States Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Moby-Dick Marathon Weekend Schedule of Events

Friday, January 6

5:30 p.m.: Ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar, Jacobs Family Gallery.

7:15 p.m.: Public lecture, “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” with Dr. Timothy Marr, Cook Memorial Theater.

Saturday, January 7

10:00 a.m.: Stump the Scholars II, Cook Memorial Theater.

11:30 a.m.: Moby-Dick “Extracts,” Bourne Building.

12:00 noon: Moby-Dick Marathon begins, Bourne Building.

1:30 p.m. (approx.): Chapters 7– 9 in the Seamen’s Bethel with tenor Jonathan Boyd.

2:30 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.

3:00-5:00 p.m.: Chat with a Melville scholar, Wattles Family Gallery.

3:00-5:00 p.m.: “Imaging Moby!” tour with Dr. Robert Wallace, Centre Street Gallery.

7:00 p.m. (approx.): Chapter 35 to Chapter 40. “Midnight, Forecastle” performed by Culture*Park, Cook Memorial Theater.

8:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.

Sunday, January 8

1:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon concludes with the Epilogue.

Ongoing related exhibits: “Imagining Moby!,” “Visualizing Melville” and the 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels. Moby-Dick slide show, Cook Memorial Theater.