Sophia Smith

How did you begin to work with Opera Parallèle?

As a principal makeup artist, my first show with Opera Parallèle was Ainadamar in 2013. I was very fortunate to be hired by my longtime mentor and designer, Jeanna Parham, who had seen a lot of potential in me. She invited me back for Trouble in Tahiti, Mahagony Songspiel / Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Anya17, and Flight. She also paved the way for me to design my first show, UCSC’s The Little Prince, which gave me the experience necessary for designing with professional regional opera companies. My first show designing for Opera Parallèle was Les Enfants Terribles, followed most recently by The Little Prince, At the Statue of Venus and Trouble in Tahiti.

What is your most memorable make-it-work moment?

I once made the mistake of attempting to lightly brush a long, synthetic, blonde and very curly wig worn by Emma McNairy as Lulu in West Edge Opera’s 2015 production. It quickly became irretrievably frizzy and upon explaining this during my design presentation, we all decided that we actually really loved the mane of curls. It probably got bigger with every show and looked fantastic—a successful make-it-work moment.

What would be your dream production to design for? 

My dream production would be more of The Little Prince with Opera Parallèle and anything with costume designer Christine Crook. She inspires me! I would also love to explore more modern productions as well as traditional operas.

What do you do for fun?

I love to unwind by drawing, painting and exploring new ways of seeing. When I am not making messes, I enjoy hiking, hanging out with my new nephew, and cuddling my pet chickens.

See some of Sophia’s sketches below: