Opera Parallèle to Present West Coast Premiere of ‘Sophia’s Forest’

By Francisco Salazar

San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle is set to present the West Coast premiere of composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch’s “Sophia’s Forest.”

The work, which will be performed four times from Feb. 24 to Feb. 26 at Grace Cathedral, is an opera in one act that relates the story of a young girl, Sophia, who has recently immigrated to the United States, having survived a traumatic journey through the chaos of a civil war in her homeland. During the course of the lyric drama, Sophia, as an adult, remembers her childhood as a nine-year old recent immigrant to the U.S.

The new opera was presented in an initial, exploratory production at Philadelphia’s Drexel University in 2017 and received critical acclaim. Opera Parallèle’s production will star soprano Maggie Finnegan as Sophia, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich as Anna, baritone Bradley Kynard as Wes, young sopranos Victoria Ko, and Samantha Fung-Lee as Emma. Actor Charlotte Fanvu will also star as Young Sophia.

The creative team will be led by company General and Artistic Director Nicole Paiement, and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel. The musical score will be performed by the Del Sol Quartet, percussion by Divesh Karamchandani, and Sound Sculpture electronics by Lembit Beecher.