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Opera Abbreviated: The Met's First Opera By A Woman in 113 Years, 'L'Amour de Loin'

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Artist page, credit Maarit Kytoharju
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Composer Kaija Saariaho breaks the mold as the first female composer to be featured at the Metropolitan Opera in 113 years.

The Metropolitan Opera present L'amour de Loin (Love from Afar) live in HD from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York to movie theaters worldwide on Saturday, December 10 at 1:00 PM. This is the Met premiere of Saariaho's opera, which has become one of the most popular musical works of the 21st century, and is the first opera composed by a woman to be staged at the Met in 113 years. 

The music is by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952) and the French language libretto is by the Lebanese-French writer Amin Maalouf. 

L'amour de Loin was introduced at the 2000 Salzburg Festival, in a production staged by Peter Sellars and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The Met is presenting a new staging by Robert Lepage, with Finnish conductor Susannah Malkki making her Metropolitan Opera debut.

Here's a preview, with commentary by Christopher Purdy and Will Waters. Will is a 16 year old intern at Classical 101, already familiar to our podcast listeners from his work on the Verdi Requiem production coinciding with the Columbus Symphony's performances of the work last fall.

L'amour de Loin introduces us to the passionate music of Kaija Saariaho. I hope you will want to hear more of her work, and that you are as enthralled by Love from Afar as I have been.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.