Notes about Sophia’s Forest by librettist Hannah Moscovitch:
In 1908, my Romanian great-grandparents, Chaya Yankovitch and Chaim Moscovitch, left Bucharest and travelled across the ocean to Halifax, Canada. They left because Eastern European Jews were being massacred in a vicious wave of pogroms. In Canada, my great-grandparents thrived. They had children who had children who live today. The branch of my family that remained in Romania, however, all died. For my family, one journey marks the border between life and death. That journey is imprinted on my psyche and over the years it has taken on a mystical quality in my mind. Sophia’s Forest is an expression of that mysticism.
Eastern Europe and in particular the Balkans continue to be roiled by genocide and war right up and into the present day. I’ve used details and circumstances lifted from contemporary conflicts in the Ukraine, Chechnya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Serbia to create the world of Sophia’s Forest.