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date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Composing opera in the twenty-first century might not be all that different from how it was done four hundred years ago. In this chapter, American opera composer Jake Heggie (Dead Man Walking) takes the reader on a journey toward the realization of a new opera using his own recent work, Moby-Dick, as a case study. Comments from American composers John Adams, Philip Glass, Mark Adamo, Stewart Wallace, and the late Daniel Catán also inform the chapter, which takes into consideration how composers choose stories for operas, how commissions work, and how opera companies are involved in key decisions on librettists, scoring, singers, and the timing of it all.

Keywords: composing opera, Heggie, Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking, John Adams, Philip Glass, Mark Adamo, Stewart Wallace, Daniel Catán

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