Moby Dick

Eugeniusz Knapik

Opera-mystery in four acts
Libretto: Krzysztof Koehler after Herman Melville
Sung in English 
Premiere: 25 June 2014

Mozart’s Idomeneo, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Tristan und Isolde, Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine, Verdi’s Otello, Milhaud’s Christopher Columbus, Britten’s Billy Budd, Romuald Twardowski’s Lord Jim, Weinberg’s The Passenger… operas whose plot is linked to the sea and a ship are many. The inspirations were different. Usually literary. However, it seemed unlikely that this role would ever be played by the famous 19th-century American novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville, about a hunt for a white whale. It’s true that whales of the humpback variety can sing, but surely opera is going too far? And yet. At the turn of the first two decades of the 21st century, in two different parts of the world, California and Silesia, this novel became the basis of two operas entitled Moby Dick, by America’s Jake Heggie (premiere in 2010) and Poland’s Eugeniusz Knapik (premiere in 2014). Knapik is a contemporary composer immune to avant-garde temptations. He has the sensitivity of a Romantic and an inclination to explore existential problems with his music. He has always been enticed by the strangeness of the world, nature and human beings. His opera Moby Dick is like a mystery play. It is a symbolic chase after something that is elusive, perfect, maybe threatening, maybe ultimate. The characters have biblical names. Music lovers can expect wonderful choruses and great operatic monologues: Ishmael seeking the truth of existence, his mother Hagar futilely watching for her son, and Father Mapple in his sermon about Jonas, among choral psalms. The spectacular staging links the ship’s deck and gangway to the outline of a giant whale, and to the boundless sea in video projections.



Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera
Anna Krysiak – dancer
Polish National Ballet


  • Patron of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

  • Partners of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Media patrons of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Logo Gazeta Wyborcza
  • Logo Co jest Grane 24