She May Pick Up Her Pen

Chamber and Ensemble



Chamber and Ensemble


fl. (picc.), ob., cl., bn.-hn., tpt.-1 perc., pno.-mezzo sop.-2 vn., va., vc., cb.


12 min.

commissioned by

The Metropolitan Opera

premiered by

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano; Met Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor


Intended as a “preview” for the premiere of The Hours at the Metropolitan Opera in November, 2022, She May Up Her Pen (libretto by Greg Pierce) was commissioned for mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who created the role of Virginia Woolf in the opera’s premiere run. It was first presented by the Met Orchestra Chamber Ensembles at Carnegie Hall on November 13, 2023 with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting. The work includes music from several moments in Act I, starting with the opera's Prolog which depicts the swirling thoughts of Virginia's subconscious as the opening line of Mrs. Dalloway begins to take shape in her mind, to an aria in which she quietly admires her husband and devoted caretaker Leonard, to the moment she finally puts pen to paper with her novel's iconic first line.

Photo credit: Evan Zimmerman/Met Opera