A Woman’s Life: The Diary of Virginia Woolf

Robert Schumann: Frauenliebe und Leben
Dominick Argento: From the Diary of Virginia Woolf

Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano; Sarah Rothenberg, piano, concept and direction; Erin Earle Fleming, lighting designer

Program notes by Sarah Rothenberg  Read a preview in the Houston Chronicle.

Two exquisite song cycles depict radically different views of a woman’s life, a century apart. Robert Schumann, composing in the creative burst that follows his marriage to the pianist and composer Clara Wieck, creates one of his most beautiful works, telling the story of “a woman’s life and loves.”  How does it match up with Clara Wieck Schumann’s real life as artist, wife and mother?

The poetic inner world of one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant writers, Virginia Woolf, comes alive in Dominick Argento’s Pulitzer Prize-winning monodrama, From the Diary of Virginia Woolf.  Tracing moments in her fragile yet productive creative life from 1919 to 1941, these musical settings bring us remarkably close to a sensitive and original woman of genius.

Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, known for her intensely expressive performances, joins Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg in this musical, literary and visual exploration of artist-women’s lives.

“A beautiful, moving and masterly work” — The New Yorker on From the Diary of Virginia Woolf

“Dramatic intelligence and imagination suffused every note of Ms. Johnson Cano’s performance. Endowed with an attention-grabbing dark mezzo…she seems to thrive in the role of a storyteller.” — The New York Times

“Ms. Rothenberg is an excellent pianist with an interesting mind.” — The New York Times