Actress Uma Thurman joining 'Penelope' ensemble July 24 at Tanglewood
LENOX — Boston-born, Amherst-raised actress Uma Thurman will join soprano Renee Fleming, the Emerson String Quartet, and pianist Simone Dinnerstein in the world premiere of Andre Previn and English playwright Tom Stoppard's "Penelope" at Tanglewood's Ozawa Hall, 8 p.m. July 24.
Thurman will take on the newly created part of narrator.
Prior to Previn's passing in February, the premiere of "Penelope" was originally conceived as part of Tanglewood's celebration of Previn's 90th birthday year. It will now be dedicated to Previn's life and music.
A monodrama about Penelope from Homer's "Odyssey," this new work by Previn and Stoppard was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Thurman — who will be appearing in "Ghosts" at Williamstown Theatre Festival beginning July 31 — completed her Broadway debut in 2017 as the star of "The Parisian Woman." She was also recently awarded The Actors Fund's Medal of Honor at their annual gala in New York City. Her most recent screen appearances include Lars von Trier's "The House That Jack Built"; "The Con is On," directed by James Haslam; and "Down a Dark Hall," directed by Rodrigo Cortes. Upcoming she will star opposite Robert De Niro in Tim Hill's "The War with Grandpa." She has appeared in the Netflix original series "Chambers," opposite Tony Goldwyn; NBC's miniseries "The Slap," created by Jon Robin Baitz; and Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1."
Thurman is best known for her portrayal of Mia Wallace, a sexy mobster's wife in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." In 1995, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the cult classic. Thurman continued to work with the director for many years and garnered Golden Globe Award nominations for her role of The Bride in his "Kill Bill" film franchise.
Additional film credits include "Dangerous Liaisons," "Henry & June," "Beautiful Girls," "Batman & Robin," "Les Miserables," "Sweet and Lowdown," "Prime" with Meryl Streep, "Be Cool" and "The Producers."
Thurman earned a Golden Globe Award for "Hysterical Blindness," which she produced and starred in. She received her first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her arc on NBC's series "Smash."
"Penelope" was unfinished at the time of Previn's death, though the score was still in manuscript form. According to a Boston Symphony Orchestra news release, Previn's son, Matthew Previn, asked his father's longtime copyist, David Fetherolf, to create a full working score from the manuscript. In some instances, the composer had written alternate versions and settings of some passages of text. As Fetherolf delved into the manuscript, it became clear that Previn had still been in the process of deciding whether certain portions of the text would be recited by a narrator or sung as part of the soprano role. Working closely with Fleming, the Emerson Quartet's first violinist, Eugene Drucker, and pianist Simone Dinnerstein, Fetherolf realized the score.
"After the loss this winter of my dear friend, the great Andre Previn, I'm overjoyed that we are indeed able give his last work its world premiere at Tanglewood," Fleming said in the BSO news release. "With the addition of the incomparable Uma Thurman to the performance ... I know we can give Andre's beautiful music and Tom Stoppard's brilliant text the performance Andre would want."
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.