One of my favorite movies is The Hours. The performances of the three main actresses—Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Street—blew me away. The entire cast was just phenomenal. I also vaguely remember the music, by Philip Glass. I say vaguely because while it was very powerful it was so wonderfully integrated into the story. Fast forward many years later, when there was beginning to be talk of Kevin Puts writing an opera based on The Hours … I thought this was an exceptional opportunity to get the best singing actresses of our time and I quickly involved the Metropolitan Opera and The Philadelphia Orchestra. This is perhaps the biggest collaboration to date between my two institutions in the United States, coming together for the birth of a new wonderful opera with the greatest singing actresses of our time: sopranos Renée Fleming and Kelli O’Hara, who will appear in both Philadelphia and New York, and the wonderful mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, who will sing in Philadelphia; Joyce DiDonato will sing it at the Met. These are such fantastic American singers working with one of the great composers of our time, Kevin Puts. I remember Renée Fleming telling me years ago how she felt that Kevin really knew how to write for the voice. So, expect to be moved and full of emotion. This is one of my pet projects over the last few years and I couldn’t be more excited to bring it to life for the first time in Philadelphia.
The world premiere of Puts’s The Hours in concert version will be performed March 18 and 20, 2022.
Photo: Jessica Griffin