Despite the Cyberattack at The Metropolitan Opera, There’s Even More to Think about with The Hours
A week-end conversation with friends about last week’s post brought up a terrific idea. Let’s go with it.
The topic had to do with some of my thoughts about Kevin Puts’s and Greg Pierce’s new opera, The Hours (just finishing its run at The Metropolitan Opera). In the December 6 post (A New American Classic from the Metropolitan Opera), here’s what I wrote:
Indeed, as [Producer] McDermott so eloquently made the point, in The Hours, “three stories have to weave themselves throughout the opera and then join together at the end of the piece … like a moving collage.” …
And what about that “joining together…”? In The Hours it is done so well, so simply and so beautifully, it’s hard to believe. Indeed, this final trio has been compared to the final trio in Der Rosenkavalier – which Kobbe describes as “an early example of Strauss’s luxuriant writing for combined female voices, always a feature of his scores and here at its finest and most effective.”
Can the two be compared? I’m no expert, but for me, hearing Renée Fleming, Kelli O’Hara, and Joyce DiDonato sing these lines, I don’t think anyone can help – remembering what they now know about the three women – but be moved to tears, as one is in Rosenkavalier. Certainly I can state that the trio Puts and Pierce give to the three women to sing (“This is the world and you live in it, and you try to be … You try …”) are every bit as emotional as what we experience in the finale of my favorite of all the Strauss operas.
As we discussed the two duets, my week-end friends suggested I find clips so we could compare them (especially since Der Rosenkavalier returns to The Met – with Lise Davidsen singing the Marschallin – on March 27). Then those of us who attended The Hours at the opera house, listened to the radio broadcast, or viewed the Live in HD broadcast at cinemas will be able to make our own live-performance comparisons.
In the meantime, though, even with The Met’s websites down (temporarily, we hope), we’ve got good old reliable YouTube. There we can hear the final trio of The Hours with not only the beautiful singing but the splendid orchestration as well. For Der Rosenkavalier we have not just the trio but the entire finale to the opera. From a 1992 gala concert in Berlin, it takes while to get started, waiting for a couple of YouTube ads, but it’s worth the wait. The singers are Kathleen Battle, Frederica von Stade, and Renée Fleming, and they are spectacular. The “new” trio is much shorter but that doesn’t matter. Both – it seems to me – evoke the same emotions and are well worth hearing.