Juliana Hall (* 1958)

Ahab: Monodrama

J. Hall: Ahab: Monodrama, GesBrKlav (KA) (0)
fürSingstimme (Bariton), Klavier
Autor / KomponistJuliana Hall
Verlag / HerstellerECS Publishing (E.C.Schirmer)


The monodrama Ahab is the third monodrama composer Juliana Hall has created with librettist Caitlin Vincent (the first two are Sentiment and Godiva). The work takes an imaginary approach to the final moments in the life of Herman Melville’s character of Captain Ahab, from the novel Moby Dick. Vincent describes the work as "essentially a mad scene...really an acting tour de force with numerous emotional shifts, all running on a steady descent to fatigue, resignation, and resolve at the very end...the premise is as a sort of mini-epilogue, which takes place after Ahab gets tangled in his harpoon line and pulled under the water by Moby-Dick at the very end of the book.

Even after the destruction of his ship and crew, we see that Ahab is (tragically) still unable to break away from his obsession with the white whale or hold himself responsible for everything that has happened. In reality, he is most certainly dead or dying...these thoughts are perhaps the final electric current running through his brain. But I also wanted to leave it open ended...maybe Ahab was so consumed by his rage that he was able to stave off death. Maybe, even now, he's still waiting for that final battle at the bottom of the ocean…"

The monodrama Ahab was composed for bass baritone Zachary James in the Spring of 2020, and was to have been premiered on a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in November of that year. However, Carnegie cancelled its entire season of concerts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, so instead of simply allowing the concert to be cancelled without any artistic enterprise taking place, James decided to turn his entire recital into a full-length film incorporating video performances of each of the dozen works by women composers he was to have premiered. The film, CALL OUT, was released in December 2020 to great critical and popular acclaim, in both audio and video versions.

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