Two Minnesota cultural institutions have won Pulitzer Prizes this year.
Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of “Silent Night,” the operatic retelling of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914, has won a Pulitzer for music.
Minnesota Opera Artistic Director Dale Johnson commissioned composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell to create the piece as part of the company’s New Works Initiative.
A celebrated composer, this is Puts’ first opera.
With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe to accompany the discoveries, failures, and oddities of human existence. In these brilliant new poems, Tracy K. Smith imagines a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant, and revisits the kitschy concepts like “love” and “illness” now relegated to the Museum of Obsolescence. These reveal the realities of life lived here, on the ground, where a daughter is imprisoned in the basement by her own father, where celebrities and pop stars walk among us, and where the poet herself loses her father, one of the engineers who worked on the Hubble Telescope.
I’ll have more on the Pulitzers later today after I’ve interviewed folks at MN Opera and Graywolf – tune in tonight to All Things Considered for more details when I talk to host Tom Crann.