Susanna Phillips appears in Kaija Saariaho's "L'Amour de Loin" at the Met in New York.
Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera via AP
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When the first notes of Kaija Saariaho's "L'Amour de Loin" (Love from Afar) are played at the Metropolitan Opera Thursday night, it will mark only the second staged work by a woman composer in the company's history – and the first since 1903 .It is being shown at the Met in a striking new production by Canadian director Robert Lepage that features some 28,000 LED lights about 1 square millimeter each in 30 rows, including three over the orchestra pit.Saariaho, a 64-year-old Finn who has long lived in Paris, also wrote "Adriana Mater," which debuted at the Opera de Paris' Bastille auditorium in 2005, and "Emilie," first seen at the Opera de Lyon in 2010 . She considers herself a composer who is a woman, not a woman composer.Ethel M. Smyth's "Der Wald" (The Forest) was the first opera by a woman composer at the Met, receiving just two performances.
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