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“Think about it hard.”

Last night, December 1, 2016, Linda and I attended the premier of the first opera written by a woman performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City since 1903.  (“(Read that sentence again, and think about it hard.)” wrote Zachary Woolfe about that fact in The New York Times.)  The opera was “L’Amour de Loin” by Kaija Saariaho, who was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1952.  The 1903 opera was “Der Wald” by Ethel Smyth, who also composed “The March of the Women,”  the anthem of the British suffragettes.  In 1912 Smyth was  arrested during a suffragette demonstration and sent Holloway  Prison.   One day, she broke the window in her cell, and, using her toothbrush,  she conducted suffragettes in the  courtyard below who were marching in a circle singing “The March of the Woman.” I took the picture during the curtain call. Kaija Saariaho is second from the left.  Equally pioneering for the Met, the conductor last night was a woman,  Susan Malkki, who is third from the left. Note: women have been composing opera for centuries.

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