Renée Flemming back at the MET in “The Hours”

Renée Fleming fans will have waited five years to see her on the Met stage again. The soprano interprets there Clarissa, a New York editor of our time, a sort of reincarnation of Mrs Dalloway, one of the three women to share the poster of The Hours. At his side, two other stars, Joyce DiDonato, in the costume of a depressed Virginia Woolf, immersed in the writing of her novel. And Kelli O’Hara, who plays a 1950s Californian trapped in an overly conventional family life.

Three eras, and three distinct destinies, but linked by a thread, that’s all the salt of this story, explains the composer Kevin Puts: “I was able to create the music for these three characters, and their era, then make them overlap, make them speak at the same time. It’s much harder in a movie, certainly impossible in a novel, and musically it’s very satisfying. »

The Hours at the Metropolitan Opera in New York
The Hours at the Metropolitan Opera in New York


Result, on stage, where the big means of the Met were deployed, the decorations come and go according to the time and the situation. They are also sometimes juxtaposed at the time of the duets and until the final trio. ” Our goal, explains the author of the booklet Greg Pierce, is that this interlacing remains readable for the public. It was necessary to ensure that there was real clarity for each painting on the era in which we find ourselves, but also on the nuances specific to these three characters. And at the same time, I didn’t want to be too clear, because what I like about Cunningham’s novel is this mystery, this question that hangs over what really connects these three women.. »

“The Hours it is also the occasion, he said, to see a work whose main characters are women. Traditionally in opera, there is often room only for a woman who ends up going mad or who dies tragically, or who is essential to the plot but has little to do. What I like in The Hours* is that we feel that we don’t immediately know these characters. We learn to discover them, the time of an evening*”.

A new generation of composers who are “not afraid to please the public”

A modern work also, intended to give a facelift to the opera to attract, why not, new audiences, explains Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met: ” The idea that classical music has to be complicated to be critically acclaimed, I believe, has almost destroyed this art. And opera will triumph again with this new generation of composers who are not afraid to please the public. It is for this reason that this work is so important to the Met, and to opera in general. »

And if American critics are not kind to The Hours too long and a little tearful, and with regard to Renée Fleming, far from being at its peak, the opera easily found its audience, selling out every night.

This production will be broadcast internationally and live in cinemas on Saturday 10 December. Pathé Live broadcasts this production in more than 150 theaters in France:

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Renée Flemming back at the MET in “The Hours”

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