Entertainment

Lyrical star Renée Fleming returns to New York to voice Virginia Woolf

First modification: Last modification:

New York (AFP) – Renée Fleming is back: the American opera star returns this Tuesday to the Metropolitan Opera in New York for an unprecedented adaptation of “The Hours”, a staging of the abyss of the life of the writer Virginia Woolf.

Michael Cunningham’s novel published in 1999 and crowned with a Pulitzer Prize, and later made into a film in 2002 and nominated for nine Oscars, “The Hours” tells the story of three women from different generations, but all united by the same work of British author: “Mrs Dalloway”.

Nicole Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar in 2003 for her portrayal of the writer afflicted with fragile mental health while working on this novel in the early 1920s. Her fate paralleled that of a 1950s Californian mother who seeks to escape a conventional life (Julianne Moore), and that of a New York literary editor (Meryl Streep) in the 1990s, confronted with the illness of a poet friend who is dying of AIDS.

In the opera, these characters are assumed by a trio of renowned singers: three-time Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato plays Virginia Woolf; Broadway and opera star Kelli O’Hara is the depressed mother, and Renée Fleming plays the New York editor.

Fleming, considered the leading American soprano of her generation, returns to the prestigious stage of the Met Opera, where five years ago she said goodbye to one of her great roles, in Richard Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier.”

Opera is the “perfect” genre to adapt “The Hours” because of the complexity of having to deal with three different eras,” Fleming said in an interview with AFP.

The American soprano Renée Fleming (in white), during a rehearsal of "The hours" at the New York Metropolitan Opera on November 18, 2022
American soprano Renée Fleming (in white) during a rehearsal of “The Hours” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on November 18, 2022. Angela Weiss AFP

“Music gives a kind of river that we can all float in, together or separately,” he says of the three-part production.

It was she who had the idea for this adaptation and suggested it to the composer Kevin Puts.

“What you can do in music that you can’t really do in a movie or a book is that, at some point, you can present all three stories… simultaneously,” he says.

Prior to this project, Fleming was already working with the composer, for whom she played the great 20th-century painter Georgia O’Keeffe.

Powerfull women

For Fleming, part of the appeal of the opera “The Hours” was telling stories of powerful women.

The American soprano Renée Fleming and Kyle Ketelsen, during a rehearsal of "The hours"at the New York Metropolitan Opera, on November 18, 2022
American soprano Renée Fleming and Kyle Ketelsen, during a rehearsal of “The Hours”, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, on November 18, 2022. Angela Weiss AFP

“Too often in opera historically women have been kind of like pawns,” she explains. “They have been victims, they have been at the center of power struggles when they did not have it (…) Now I want to tell stories of women who are extraordinary.”

In addition to the power of voices, “Las horas” incorporates modern dance in a way not often seen in traditional operas, with dozens of performers physically expressing the emotions of the characters.

According to Fleming, productions like “The Hours” can play a vital role in renewing the opera experience and attracting new audiences. A long-term goal that the Met strives to achieve.

The institution opened its 2021 season by showing, for the first time in 138 years, the first opera composed by a black musician, Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up In My Bones,” a modern and extravagant work, with accents of jazz and blues.

American mezzo-soprano singer Joyce DiDonato, who plays the role of Virginia Woolf, during a rehearsal for "The hours" at New York Metropolitan Opera on November 18, 2022
American mezzo-soprano singer Joyce DiDonato, who plays the role of Virginia Woolf, during a rehearsal for “The Hours” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on November 18, 2022 Angela Weiss AFP

Now the famous soprano advocates continuing to incorporate composers of diverse origins and giving women more and more prominence.

“All of our art forms must truly represent our population,” says Fleming, the first woman in Met history to solo headline a season-opening night gala in 2008.

“The Hours” is presented at the Metropolitan Opera in Manhattan from November 22 to December 15.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button