Watch These Films Before Seeing the Metropolitan Opera’s ‘The Hours’ & ‘Rigoletto’

By Francisco Salazar

November at the Metropolitan Opera will showcase three new operas productions.

Audiences will see “Don Carlo” starring tenor Russell Thomas, “Rigoletto,” and the world premiere production of “The Hours” starring Renee Fleming and Joyce DiDonato.

In the third article of the series, we will look at two of those operas and their corresponding silver screen adaptations.

The Hours 

Modern operas are always of interest because they come from very different source materials –  sometimes books, sometimes real-life events, and sometimes historical figures. In the case of Kevin Puts’ “The Hours,” the opera was adapted from Michael Cunningham’s novel, the 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction.

That novel was later turned into an Academy Award-winning film “The Hours.” The 2002 film by Stephen Daldry stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore as the three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the 1925 novel “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf.

The film opened to critical acclaim and was a minor box office success. It also featured a classic Philip Glass score that is considered among his best and was nominated for the Grammy and won the BAFTA.

Following the release of the movie, it was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won Best Actress for Nicole Kidman’s harrowing performance as Virginia Wolf.

The King’s Jester

Rigoletto is one of Verdi’s most popular operas ever. It is a work that has inspired many filmic operatic versions as well as different adaptations like “Rigoletto, La Tragedia” from 1956 and a silent film “Rigoletto” in 1918.

But it was in 1941 that a film directly adapted from Victor Hugo’s play was made. The Italian film is a historical drama directed by Mario Bonnard starring Michel Simon, María Mercader, and Rossano Brazzi.

The film is set at the court of Francis I of France in the Sixteenth century and like the “Tosca” film we alluded to in the last part of this series, this film uses music from Verdi’s iconic “Rigoletto.”



Opera Meets Film