Friday, November 25, 2022

Media Round-Up: The Hours, Metropolitan Opera

Photograph taken at night of the Lincoln Center fountain, lit up with fairly low jets of water in concentric rings.

I am planning to see the HD broadcast of Kevin Puts's new opera, The Hours, which is based on a novel I've never read, a film I've never seen, and Virginia Woolfe's Mrs. Dalloway, which I have read, but not recently. I wasn't originally planning a media round-up, but hoo boy, the reviews are...interesting and more than a little dubious.

  • Zachary Woolfe, NY Times ("...nearly every scene in the opera eventually gets to the same place musically and dramatically, whipped into soaring emotion. The tear-jerking gets tiring."
  • Justin Davidson, New York Magazine ("Discrete personalities start to liquefy and slosh together, all those gracious lamentations merging in a stream of warm melody.")
  • Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post ("The Hours" should have made an amazing opera. It didn't.) 
  • Christopher Corwin, Parterre Box ("I rarely glance at my watch during an opera, but last night at the Met I did—several times—as The Hours seemed to be going on for hours and hours and…")
  • Gabrielle Ferrari, NY Observer
  • Alex Ross, The New Yorker ("What the opera lacks, however, is a compositional identity distinct enough to hold its own against the jumpy genius of Woolf’s prose—or, for that matter, against the indelible musical signature of Philip Glass, who scored the film.")
Related: the recently-revived Sieglinde's Diaries takes a few unwarranted potshots at Zachary Woolfe, thinking that he is "trashing" Fleming (he is not) and apparently unaware of three five other published reviews that are less-than-raves about her. The kind words for Tommasini - I mean, let me note that plenty of people consider him a milquetoast reviewer unwilling to express his opinions. You know, he moved his Levine recordings from the living room to his bedroom!

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