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Subject: Re: A question about composers
From: "M. Rommel" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 27 Nov 2008 18:18:30 -0800
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Dr. Dupoit,
 
I take your question perfectly seriously, but just having finished reading your email, I was instantly put in  mind of a quote I sometimes use in my lectures: "There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper."
 
I am not quite sure what that means altogether, but it often elicits a chuckle or two--a good rhetorical strategy when beginning a 'serious' lecture--and always provokes thoughtful discussion.
 
There is a text (undergraduate level) you might find useful to consult by Janet Nichols _Women Music Makers: An Introduction to the Women Composers_ 1992, in which the question you are to address is referred to. 
 
Good luck,
 
Martin Rommel

--- On Fri, 11/28/08, florence dupoit <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: florence dupoit <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: A question about composers
To: [log in to unmask]
Received: Friday, November 28, 2008, 11:05 AM

I have been invited to present a talk for a sociology class who are studying the
place of opera and music theater in modern society.  They have asked me to
address one question in particular:
 
The audience for opera worldwide, irrespective of age or location, is
predominantly women.  Why, then are there almost no performances of operas by
women composers?  (Kaija Saariaho and possibly Judith Weir seem to be the only
exceptions.)
 
And a corollary question:  
 
It is often said that women have composed very few operas. Is this because
their work is not performed--rather than the other way around? At least in the
21st century?
 
Thank you for any insights you may be able to offer.
 
Dr. Florence Dupoit
Montreal, Quebec




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