Congratulations to Peter Rundel: the production of Girl with a Pearl Earring, which he directed in eight performances in the spring of 2022, was named premiere of the year by Opernwelt magazine.
The work was created from a libretto by Philip Littell based on the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier. The literary model, a gripping tale about the artist Vermeer and his muse Griet, was also made famous by the 2003 film adaptation.
The premiere of the work by the Swiss composer Stefan Wirth, commissioned by the Zurich Opera House and directed by Ted Huffman, featured a prominent cast: Thomas Hampson sang the part of Vermeer, Laura Aikin took on the role of his wife and the young American Lauren Snouffer sang Griet.
The reactions of press and audience after the premiere were enthusiastic. Lotte Thaler in the FAZ wrote: "The music becomes very tender before it turns up again as soon as Griet looks through the camera a second time and the orchestra under Peter Rundel's tight direction offers everything in terms of colour and emotion". The Tages Anzeiger wrote: "There Peter Rundel stands in front of the Philharmonia Zürich, supplemented with lots of percussion and a piano, and ensures that we not only see more, but also hear more, feel more, understand more." Oper aktuell commented: "Peter Rundel conducted the Philharmonia Zürich with captivating clarity, never too loud or too noisy, even with the subtly rearing layers of sound." Bachtrack wrote: "From the pit, conductor Peter Rundel kept a tight hold on a configuration of some 100 fine musicians, all of whom embraced the modern genre like a second skin."
Girl with a Pearl Earring shares the award for World Premiere of the Year with Peter Eötvös' opera Sleepless.