Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Hours: Metropolitan Opera in HD, and Lizzo

Quite the week in culture consuming, as a friend pointed out: the ballet, the new Sarah Polley film, and yesterday The Hours, a new opera based on the Michael Cunningham book and subsequent film of the same name, linking Virginia Woolf and her Mrs. Dalloway with one day in the lives of two other women living at different times.

What an impossible thing to make into an opera. And yet it works, as shown in the Met Opera Live in HD production at my local Cineplex. One of the best innovations ever: great theatre and opera in cinemas. Without the excitement of a live show, but a bike ride away with closeups and interviews with the performers and production teams, and much, much cheaper. 

This one stars three of the world's best singers: RenĂ©e Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, and Kelli O'Hara, all with superb voices but also excellent acting skills. My criticisms - you knew this was coming, right? - were that it was over-produced, with a vast chorus in the background often flailing about reading books or waving flowers, and more importantly, that the music, especially for the two sopranos (Joyce is a mezzo), sometimes sounded monotonously the same, in the same register. 

But mostly, it was daring and affecting, about the horrors of depression, the struggle to make art, and love of many different kinds. "Here is the world, and you live in it," they sing together at the end, "and you try to be. And you try and you try..."

My friend Curtis thought it was brilliant, a triumph. It succeeded in doing what art is for. Touching our souls and enabling us to feel the bliss of being alive. 

Well put, Curtis. Doesn't get better than that.

I raced home to put the chicken in the oven and mash the potatoes, because two of my oldest friends, Jessica and Suzette, were coming for dinner. We go back fifty-five years. Doesn't get better than that. Incidentally, that's not us, above, that's the sopranos. 

A pretty snowfall today. I shovelled but otherwise stayed in, to devour a fridge full of leftovers. Danced with Nicky, read, worked, wrote to you, and another day vanished.

There's an opera in the too-fast passing of time. Let's sing. 

Speaking of singing, in case you missed it, the spectacular Lizzo did a wonderful thing during the People's Choice Awards, inviting a big group of women activists of all backgrounds and causes onstage with her to be recognized. BRAVA to her and to them all.


  1. I'm sorry to have missed The Hours (loved the book, loved the film), even over-produced. And I love this: "There's an opera in the too-fast passing of time. Let's sing." Yes! (But only if Joyce D. sings my part.)

    1. Yes, Joyce is spectacular, and a brunette. I think. Many would disagree that it's over-produced; I think the chorus had much mystical meaning which might have been a bit lost on me. I'd like to see the film again now. Amazing to glean so much from Woolf's book and life.

    2. Me again. (Theresa) I have a couple of her CDs and like her warm mezzo. She's blond on one cover, kind of gorgeously goth

    3. I'd never heard of her, I'm ashamed to say. Not surprised that you not only have heard of her but that you own her CDs!