At the world premiere of the monodrama "Penelope" Wednesday, it was a first for many — including the playwright.

“I heard the music for "Penelope" for the first time last night when we had our first rehearsal,” playwright Tom Stoppard told Jim Braude and Margery Eagan during a sit-down interview on the grounds of Tanglewood, where the premiere took place.

“I generally don’t know what it means to write for a singer, and I still don’t,” Stoppard said of the process of creating the work with composer Andre Previn. “In the end, [Previn] said, ‘Look, just do it as if it was a long speech in a play, and let me worry about how to make it sing.’”

Stoppard and Previn have been friends for decades, going back to their work together on the play "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor" in the 1970s. Previn passed away in February at the age of 89, leaving "Penelope" as a work-in-progress. Previn’s longtime friend and music editor, David Fetherolf, stepped in to bring the piece to completion. This week's performance featured soprano Renee Fleming, narrator Uma Thurman, pianist Simone Dinnerstein and the Emerson String Quartet.

The piece is a reimagination of the story of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus in the ancient Greek classic "The Odyssey" by Homer.

“I was aware that Odysseus’s wife was famed for her loyalty,” Stoppard explained. “And she, in my mind, was in a state of some resentment that her reputation came down to us as this homely, faithful, loyal wife, knitting and weaving and patiently waiting for her man to get back from the war.’”

The musical score wasn’t the only thing Stoppard was experiencing for the first time this week. He also had never visited Tanglewood before.

“I’m trying to think of something which isn’t a cliché word, but you come here, and frankly it is amazing,” he said. “It’s utterly lovely.”