January 17, 2003 9:07 PM Subscribe
Ursula Plaichinger, a 27 year-old viola player, is the first woman to be (partially) admitted into the Vienna Philharmonic since the orchestra's creation 161 years ago. Except for hiring temporary, underpaid, unmentioned and unseen harpists ("Cameramen were instructed to show only her hands, never her face or figure"), the Viennese Phil not only tried to ignore several pleads for gender equality but took seven years to comply to the Austrian government's injunctions. Does this kind of resistance reflect a general trend? Is Ursula's case merely an example of "Rent-a-Frau" ? On the other hand, since the Viennese orchestra is a private association, could this be just a modified version of the Battle of Augusta?
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