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. Conducted by Nicole Paiement, and directed by Brian Staufenbiel, these performances will feature soprano Kiera Duffy and the Aizuri Quartet.

Tickets are $25 general and $15 for students and seniors. Available here.

The Team:

Lembit Beecher, composer and producer
Hannah Moscovitch, librettist

Brian Staufenbiel, director
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 and Simon Kim at the University of Pennsylvania
Principal engineer Richard Vallett
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.

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