The much-anticipated run of “The Hours” has its world debut Tuesday at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Oscar-nominated film explore how Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” ties three women of various eras together. Its darkly moving operatic adaptation gives a new perspective on the drama, which tackles mental illness and estrangement from tradition.
Renee Fleming, the leading American soprano of her time, pitched the production. Her role as Clarissa Vaughan marks her return to the Met after leaving “Der Rosenkavalier” in 2017.
“The Hours” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts was appropriate for opera, Fleming thought.
Fleming remarked of the three-pronged production, “Music gives a river on which we may all float—ttogether or independently.”
Fleming’s Vaughan, a 1990s New Yorker who echoes Clarissa Dalloway, plans a party for a friend dying of AIDS. She is joined onstage by Broadway and opera star Kelli O’Hara, who plays unhappy 1950s housewife Laura Brown.
“The possibilities were so thrilling,” composer Puts told AFP. “You can portray the three storylines simultaneously in music, something you couldn’t do in a film or a book.”
“The concept of presenting those storylines musically and then gradually bringing them together was intriguing,” Puts said.