The girl's gaze is gentle and haunting, with a pearl shining on her ear. It seems as if it has just turned in surprise to the artist who is portraying it - the painter Jan Vermeer. The girl with the pearl earring, the famous head study by the Dutch master, is a snapshot of mysterious beauty. In her novel of the same name, the American bestselling author Tracy Chevalier brought the painting to life and invented a gripping tale about the artist Vermeer and his muse: Griet, the daughter of an impoverished family in Delft, is employed as a maid in Jan Vermeer 's household. Dedicated to hard work and tormented by the Vermeer's children, while cleaning the artist's studio she is the only one to gain insight into the mystery of colors, light and perspectives of the painter. After the patron and voluptuary Pieter van Ruijven ordered a painting with the maid as a portrait motif, Griet often stayed alone in the studio with the artist.
The Zurich Opera House commissioned the Swiss composer Stefan Wirth to create a music theater work from the literary model, which has already been successfully adapted for the cinema. The composer, who lives in Zurich, is one of the great talents of the younger generation. He is experienced in theater and in his writing is committed to a reflected and sensual modern music theater. In addition to composing, Wirth has made a name for himself as a pianist and virtuoso interpreter of contemporary works and has worked as a theater musician with directors such as Christoph Marthaler and Frank Castorf.
The cast also stands for the high standards of this premiere project: Thomas Hampson returns to the Zurich Opera House in the role of Vermeer, while the young American Lauren Snouffer sings Griet. Laura Aikin and the grande dame of opera singing, Felicity Palmer, can be seen as Catharina Vermeer and her mother. Ted Huffman, who delighted the Zurich audience with his interpretation of Madama Butterfly , is the director.