Community Conversations

San Diego Opera is very pleased to announce our Community Conversations for 2012. We started Community Conversations a few years back as a way to get people interested in our production of Nabuccco and they have now grown into an annual series.

Community Conversations is a free, citywide lecture series that explores the various aspects of San Diego Opera’s upcoming season by paring Dr. Nic Reveles (our Director of Education) with a guest speaker and expert who is an expert in their field. These are casual, and fun, and cover a wide variety of thought-provoking topics.

We've posted the complete list of Community Conversations for 2012 down below but we encourage you to visit the official page which you can access here - although these events are free they do require an RSVP, and they do reach capacity well in advance.

In Search of the Whale: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick

September 27, 2011, 7:00 PM

San Diego Maritime Museum, aboard the Berkeley - 1492 North Harbor Drive. San Diego, CA 92101-3309

Join Bart Thurber, Ph.D., Professor of English Literature at the University of San Diego and the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera, in a lively conversation about Herman Melville’s epic novel, Moby-Dick, the source of the new opera by Jake Heggie (composer) and Gene Scheer (librettist). Melville’s episodic work includes digressions into the mechanics of seafaring, a scientific study of whales, intimate descriptions of 19th century whaling and various (and, at times, divergent) genres. The novel’s many themes will be discussed, along with a close look at how this monumental novel was distilled down into a tight, gripping work for the stage.

Whale Sounds, Whale Music: Reflections of a Marine Biologist on Moby-Dick

October 11, 2011, 7:00 PM

Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute - 2595 Ingraham Street. San Diego, CA 92109-7902

In a conversation between Dr. Ann Bowles, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist with the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute and Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach with San Diego Opera, the connection between Melville’s book and current scientific study in conservation will be explored. Melville had no inkling of the conservation ethic, but his work exposes the painful tension between exploitation and conservation in a way that modern writers cannot because he described in exacting detail the collapse of the whale fishery from the perspective of the whalers. Dr. Bowles will interpret Melville’s observations and incidents like the sinking of the whale ship Essex and depredations of Mocha Dick, which inspired Melville to write Moby-Dick, in light of what we know about sperm whales today. The audience will step into the whales’ ocean world through the medium of their sounds, with the hope that this discussion will help San Diegans enjoy the lyrical battle between Captain Ahab and The Whale in Jake Heggie’s opera.
Moby-Dick: Science, Sound and Struggles Between Whales and Men

November 8, 2011, 7:00 PM

Birch Aquarium at Scripps - 2300 Expedition Way. La Jolla, CA 92037

In this partnership between Birch Aquarium at Scripps and San Diego Opera, marine biologist Dr. Aaron Thode, Ph.D. with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Dr. Nicolas Reveles, Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera, discuss the background of the upcoming San Diego Opera production of Moby-Dick. Based on the Herman Melville novel, the opera focuses on the obsessive relationship that Captain Ahab has with an albino sperm whale that he believes crippled him on a whaling expedition. For background on the opera and the book, Drs. Thode and Reveles will have a lively discussion about the science of whales as presented by the book and how modern science has grown in its understanding of this magnificent animal. The conversation will include information about Dr. Thode’s research on the sperm whale and marine mammal acoustics, including modern day conflicts between whales and fishermen.

A Whale of a Story: Moby-Dick and Reflections on the Book of Jonah

December 7, 2011, 7:00 PM

Congregation Beth-Israel - 9001 Towne Centre Drive. San Diego, CA 92122

Join Rabbi Michael Berk, Congregation Beth-Israel, and Dr. Nicolas Reveles, The Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera for an exciting discussion about two “whale stories”: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and the Book of Jonah. Melville’s great American novel is filled with quotes from scripture. Even some of the chapters of the book are cast in forms that would have been familiar to the Biblical authors. A key portion of the book is a sermon by the character ‘Father Mapple’ whose words draw a strong parallel between Captain Ahab and the Biblical Jonah. Come find out how these two great pieces of world literature speak to each other and to our lives with a relevance that is fresh, contemporary and undeniable.

Images of Salome: Eroticism, Horror, and Religion

January 18, 2012, 7:00 PM

San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park – 1450 El Prado. Balboa Park, CA 92101

Join Dr. John Marciari, Ph.D., Curator of European Art at the San Diego Museum of Art and Dr. Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera, in a survey of images depicting the biblical story of Salome and John the Baptist. From the Renaissance through the 20th century, from Cranach to Caravaggio to Beardsley, the story of the cunning princess and the beheading of the prophet John has inspired a plethora of bloody and suggestive works of art. What ties these pieces together? Why are artists attracted to the juxtaposition of the horrific and the erotic in their works? Are the same artistic impulses to be found in Strauss’s 1905 opera? Join these two experts in an engaging conversation about visual art and its effect on lyric theatre.

Strauss’s Salome: Fatal Attraction

January 25, 2012, 7:00 PM

La Jolla Country Day School, Four Flowers Theatre - 9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037

Richard Strauss’s 1905 opera Salome, after the play by Oscar Wilde, is based on the Biblical story of a tragic convergence in the lives of John the Baptist, Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, his wife Herodias and her daughter Salome. In a free-wheeling conversation, Dr. Joseph Colombo, Ph.D. and Dr. Florence Gillman, Ph.D. and S.T.D., both professors of Religious Studies & Theology at the University of San Diego will give a vivid account of the life and times of Herod’s family with an emphasis on Herodias and Salome. Dr. Gillman is the author of Herodias: At Home In That Fox’s Den and will present some of her findings in research about this subject; Dr. Colombo will present images of Salome in art and film, from 19th century paintings to Hollywood. The conversation will be moderated by Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach, San Diego Opera.

Remember, you can RSVP (for free) to these events here. We hope to see you at a few of them - or all.


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