2021 | 2022 Season

Opera Parallèle presents

Sophia’s Forest

Music by Lembit Beecher

Libretto by Hannah Moscovitch

An immigrant family’s story

of hope & the healing

power of imagination.

Performances
  • February 24, 2022 – 8pm
  • February 25, 2022 – 8pm
  • February 26, 2022 – 5pm & 8pm

COVID HEALTH & SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

All audience members, staff and artists ages 12 and up must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Prior to entering the Grace Cathedral, you will be asked to provide proof of vaccination through a QR code generated by Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record Website, or an original physical vaccination card or photograph of it, along with a valid government issued photo ID (a Student ID for minors under the age of 18 is also acceptable). Seating in Grace Cathedral will be distanced, and masks are required for all attendees. Please be aware that singers and select instrumentalists will perform without masks.

Sophia’s Forest explores the lasting effects of the immigrant experience on families and the ways children use their imaginations to cope with trauma and find healing. The innovative opera tells the story of a nine-year-old recent immigrant to the US who, through a traumatic journey, escaped the chaos of a civil war in her homeland.

Nine electronically-controlled sound sculptures, designed and operated by composer Lembit Beecher, placed across the stage are a direct outgrowth of Sophia’s memories: bike wheels recall Sophia’s youthful adventures with her sister Emma, and wine glasses become a central part of her mother Anna’s coping once the family moves to America.

When Sophia’s mother dies, Sophia confronts half-forgotten traumas from her childhood. Sophia and her sister Emma grew up in a war torn country. The two young girls  escape their grim circumstances – the adult world of war, death and displacement – through the lens of fairy tales. As the fighting draws nearer, the family is forced to flee their home and make a dangerous journey into a forest. Sophia’s child’s-view version of their flight includes mystical horrors. As Sophia tries to protect her sister Emma from the evil in the forest, she makes a fatal mistake that forever changes the course of their lives. 

Cast

Click on an artist below to learn more
Maggie Finnegan

Maggie Finnegan

'Sophia' - Soprano

Charlotte Fanvu

Charlotte Fanvu

'Young Sophia' - Actor

Kindra Scharich

Kindra Scharich

'Anna' - Mezzo-Soprano

Samantha Fung-Lee

Samantha Fung-Lee

'Emma' - Girl Soprano

Bradley Kynard

Bradley Kynard

'Wes' - Baritone

Victoria Ko

Victoria Ko

'Emma' - Girl Soprano

Composer & Librettist

Lembit Beecher

Lembit Beecher

Composer

Hannah Moscovitch

Hannah Moscovitch

Librettist

Creative Team & MUSICIANS

Nicole Paiement

Nicole Paiement

Conductor

Aaron Curry

Aaron Curry

Lighting Designer

Brian Staufenbiel

Brian Staufenbiel

Director

Marisely Cortés Fonseca

Marisely Cortés Fonseca

Costume Designer

Jessica Bejarano

Jessica Bejarano

Assistant Conductor

Del Sol String Quartet

Del Sol String Quartet

Instrumental Ensemble

Jon Altemus

Jon Altemus

Set Designer

Divesh Karamchandani

Divesh Karamchandani

Percussion

Supporters

Major support for Opera Parallèle has been provided by Donna Dubinsky & Len Shustek, Bob Ellis, Gordon P. Getty, Stephen & Diane Heiman, Paul L. King, Steven M. Menzies, and Denise Young.

Major institutional and corporate support has been provided by Adobe, JW & HM Goodman Family Foundation, Horizons Foundation, The Lemala Fund, Sam Mazza Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, City & County of San Francisco Grants for the Arts, and The Shenson Foundation.

The Bullhorn: Amplifying Unheard Voices received funding from a Civic Practice Grant from OPERA America’s Opera Fund.