"Here Be Sirens," an opera by Kate Soper, focuses on the creatures of Greek mythology in their everyday lives, going through the routine of causing shipwrecks and drowning sailors. As they consider their different attitudes toward their daily work, they delve deeper into the myths of their origins in equally hilarious and thought-provoking action.
Here Be Sirens presents the daily life of three sirens, who kill time on their island as they await an endless procession of doomed sailors. Peitho revels in the luxurious sensuality of their rite; Phaino stonily enacts the ritual with no inner feeling; and Polyxo longs for escape into the world of the real, delving into centuries of scholarship and research on her species in an attempt to untwist their circumstances. As the opera goes on, the sirens re-enact the abduction of Persephone, encounter (and battle) their favored sisters the Muses, and leave no rock unturned to plumb the depths of their own origins in this work of ‘audacious, genre-bending music theatre’ (Wall Street Journal).” - eamdc.com
Kate Soper is a composer, performer, and writer whose work explores the integration of drama and rhetoric into musical structure, the slippery continuums of expressivity, intelligibility and sense, and the wonderfully treacherous landscape of the human voice. She has been hailed by The Boston Globe as "a composer of trenchant, sometimes discomfiting, power" and by The New Yorker for her "limpid, exacting vocalism, impetuous theatricality, and...mastery of modernist style." A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Soper has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters (The Virgil Thomson and Goddard Lieberson awards and the Charles Ives Scholarship), the Koussevitzky Foundation, Chamber Music America, the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, the Music Theory Society of New York State, and ASCAP, and has been commissioned by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Center/BUTI, the MIVOS string quartet, and Yarn/Wire. She has received residencies and fellowships from the Civitella Raineri Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Camargo Foundation, the Macdowell Colony, Tanglewood, Royaumont, and Domaine Forget, among others.
Praised by the New York Times for her "lithe voice and riveting presence," Soper performs frequently as a new music soprano. As a singer and performer with experience in Western Classical and Indian Carnatic music, songwriting, improvisation, and experimental theatre, she has sung in U.S. and world premieres of works by composers such as Peter Ablinger, Beat Furrer, George Lewis, Matthias Spahlinger, and Katharina Rosenberger, and has appeared with groups such as the Morningside Opera Company, the Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, and the Dinosaur Annex Ensemble. She performs regularly in her own works, and has been featured as a composer/vocliast on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW series, the New York City-based MATA and SONiC festivals, the Lucerne Forum for New Music, Gaudeamus Muziekweek New York, the Sacramento Festival of New Music, and the American Composers Orchestra's Orchestra Underground series.
Soper is a member of Wet Ink, a New York-based new music ensemble dedicated to seeking out adventurous music across aesthetic boundaries. She is the Iva Dee Hiatt Assistant Professor of Music at Smith College.