Interview with Minnesota Opera Artistic Director Dale Johnson; Interview with mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux
and tenor Bruce Ford
As the first scene opens, there is a lavish party is in progress at the duke's palace. The Duke tells his companion, Borsa, about a young woman who has caught his attention at church. No sooner has he finished describing her than he is talking about another woman, the Countess Ceprano. Borsa warns him to look out for her husband. But the Duke is unconcerned. He considers women to be his playthingsâ€”he claims he simply can't help himself when surrounded by so many pretty faces
The world Margaret Atwood set out to create was inspired by real events from human historyâ€”the attempt of the American Puritans to establish a theocracy, the abortion debate, the presence of fundamentalist regimes.
Host Lauren Rico shares rarely heard selections that were created by women from all over the world. Several historic works are complemented by pieces from more widely heralded contemporary composers. Rico presents a wonderfully broad range of musicians and styles, from 18th-century artist Louise Duval to 20th-century educational pioneer Ruth Crawford Seeger and contemporary film composer Rachel Portman. Ellen Taafe Zwillich, Conni Ellisor, and Mary Howe are among the other musicians featured on the program.
The feature examines current obstacles in the world of classical music that don't involve gender, but have more to do with time and the marketplace. As orchestras struggle to maintain ticket sales, modern composers - male and female - find it increasingly difficult to get their music played and heard. Composers Libby Larsen, Joan Tower, Augusta Read Thomas, and Judith Lang Zaimont join host Lauren Rico to discuss pressing questions facing the industry: Are audiences interested in new musical experiences? Is there a demand for new music when only the standards are programmed? Finally, is it even possible to make a living making music?
Composer Mark Adamo paid a visit to the Twin Cities for the Minnesota premiere of his opera Little Women. Based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women is a glimpse into the life of one New England family during the Civil War.
In 1900 it was virtually unheard of for a woman to play in an orchestraâ€”let alone conduct one. A century later, audiences are still surprised when the person who steps onto the podium is female. Instrumental Women: Conducting Business looks at the challenges facing women in the field of conductingâ€”from education to community outreach.
Female musicians in the United States have gone from playing piano in their families' drawing rooms during the early 20th century to conducting or composing for some of the country's most renowned orchestras today. But it hasn't been an easy road to travel. Women who have faced incidents of prejudice in their careers as musicians recount the hurdles they've had to overcome in Instrumental Womenâ€”a two-hour radio special that celebrates women's contributions to 20th century classical music.