November 22, 2022

Critical Acclaim for the World Premiere of 'The Hours'

Kevin's new opera The Hours received it's world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on November 22, 2022, and received acclaim from critics around the globe. You can read some highlights below:

"Puts’s The Hours mixes musical freshness and venerable traditions in a fine and moving music drama... Puts knows his singers, and he tailors their vocal lines as deftly as Tom Pye costumes them, making performers and listeners happy with all the story’s darkness and misery... Puts gives the orchestra plenty of chances to glimmer and swell. Dancers (choreographed by Annie-B Parson) flock the stage as the silent voices in the characters’ heads, magically translating thoughts into movement. The chorus thunders the dictates of conscience."

- Justin Davison, Vulture

"All these swirling reflections on musical style, craft, beauty, sound worlds and authenticity in life, come to a climactic head at the end of The Hours. Puts unleashes opera’s freedom to cross boundaries by bringing all three women together on stage to sing in unison."

- Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

"...the opera proved, at a minimum, an interesting and worthy work, well worth hearing once, and more than once. Does that sound like faint praise? Remember: I said “at a minimum,” and that is an impressive minimum... Puts writes dizzying music to portray the confusion or distress of his characters. He also does a skillful job of integration, by which I mean this: there are times when different characters, plus chorus, sing about different things simultaneously. Their lines, or “tracks,” must be integrated, woven—which Puts does."

- Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion

"Puts’s score is undeniably skilful — it’s cinematic and beautiful, and keeps the action moving along... Puts’s score flatters his divas... Puts’s score is cinematic and beautiful… plush orchestration, full of sumptuous strings and crisp percussion.

- Kevin Ng, The Times UK

"A spellbinding score that has its own unique way with exploring and expressing this complex drama... The immense amount of talent, and Puts’s skill as a composer, made for an evening that had great beauty and reached genuine and considerable emotional depths.... the opera’s heights are as grand as anything one will experience at the Met this season... The score is flowing and frequently gorgeous, full of melodic and harmonic resolutions that, like tiles of a mosaic, mark integral bits of the drama and move smoothly to the next element. Puts uses structures and orchestrations familiar from Copland, Barber, and John Adams, and even amusingly quotes from Die Zauberflöte, but nothing is derivative, and it all comes through as his own voice. The accumulated effect of all these details, of one dramatically meaningful piece after another, is often deeply affecting... This is sure to be a hit for the Met, and it deserves to be."

- George Grella, The New York Classical Review

"Puts’s score — which is written through, eclectic and soaringly lyrical — contains dreamy touches befitting the fluid nature of Pierce’s text, which has nearly 30 scenes that dissolve in and out of one another."

- Joshua Barone, The New York Times

"Pierce’s libretto artfully brings the women into even closer proximity than in the novel or film, enabling Puts to create, for example, gorgeous close-harmony duets for Virginia and Laura." 

- Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

" Puts creates distinct musical soundscapes for the three women, which are mostly discernible in the orchestra...  Puts’s score is reason enough to see The Hours"

-Rick Perdian, Seen and Heard International

"Puts can write some of the most gorgeous poetic music around. The opening of both acts features a sort of floating sensation of undulating strings and high, off-stage voices: the effect is ravishing."

- Robert Levine, BachTrack

"You can add “The Hours” to the list of must-see operas this season."

- David Salazar, OperaWire

"The stories of the three women are told so faithfully and carefully...[The Hours] is a collective declaration that life is life, and we are all here living it, and we should make the best of that with the love and people we have around us. The movie chose death as its bounding theme, the opera chooses life."

-Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast

"Puts’s music cleverly delineates the sound worlds of each woman, capturing the furrowed angst of Virginia, the illusory glamour of Laura’s picture-perfect domesticity, the busy cosmopolitan din of Clarissa’s day-to-day... At the end of “The Hours,” you will find yourself energized by Puts’s splendid shape-shifting score, or the triple threat of its leads, or the richness of this multilayered narrative."

-Michael Brodeur, The Washington Post