Sophia’s Forest is a 65-minute chamber opera by composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch, premiering September 8 and 9, 2017 at the Black Box Theatre of Drexel University’s URBN Center Annex in Philadelphia. Developed through a generous grant from the The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, this project explores the way that technology can form an integral and expressive role in operatic storytelling. The opera focuses on the interior world of a 9-year-old child, Sophia, a recent immigrant to the United States, who uses her imagination to deal with the trauma of her experiences. Evoking Sophia’s inner thoughts and memories are nine sound-producing sculptures that form an integral part of the opera’s set. These sound sculptures, being built at the Drexel University ExCITe Center in collaboration with a team of architects from the University of Pennsylvania act both as musical instruments and characters in the drama. Design and construction of the sculptures is being led by Youngmoo Kim, who directs Drexel University’s ExCITe Center, in addition to architect Simon Kim and engineer Mark Yim, of the University of Pennsylvania. Developed in collaboration with director and dramaturge Brian Staufenbiel, the opera will feature conductor Nicole Paiement, soprano Kiera Duffy and the Aizuri Quartet.
Tickets are $25 general and $15 for students and seniors. Available here.
Lembit Beecher, composer and producer
Hannah Moscovitch, librettist
Brian Staufenbiel, director and dramaturge
Paige Seber, lighting designer
Nicole Paiement, conductor
Benjamin Grow, assistant conductor
Sophia – Kiera Duffy
Anna – Jennifer Beattie
Wes – Michael Weylandt
Emma – Maggie Finnegan
Young Sophia – Francesca Luzi
The Aizuri String Quartet
Eric Derr, percussion
Sound Sculpture design and engineering team led by Youngmoo Kim at the Drexel University ExCITe Center with consulting from Mark Yim from the University of Pennsylvania
Sculpture exterior design team led by architect Simon Kim from the University of Pennsylvania
Principal engineer Richard Vallett
Principal programming by Scott Delprato
Initial prototypes by Laura Allan, Justin Rivera, and Kate Wisniewski
Major support for Sophia’s Forest has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with additional commissioning support from Paul L. King.