Choreographing extracts for Helen Caddick’s original opera “Sophie” 2021

December 27, 2021

In July, I completed 4 days of research and development choreographing extracts of “Sophie”, an original opera by Helen Caddick with whom I collaborated in 2017 for the live music, film and dance project “Amphora”. This time, instead of dancing solo to her beautiful score, I brought in two Laban-trained dancers: Yanaëlle Thiran and Aaron Baksh, and had my first experience choreographing an opera.

While “Amphora” was based on Dada poet and sculptor Jean Arp, “Sophie” is based on his wife Sophie Taeuber-Arp: an extraordinary multi-disciplinary Swiss artist and dancer (who danced with Rudolf Laban himself), but received little of the recognition she deserved before she died tragically at 53 years old. The R&D was wild fun under the fantastic directorship of Lucy Bradley, in which we wove the beautiful voices of mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Lynch, baritone Neil Balfour, the music of a five-piece orchestra conducted by Chris Hopkins of English National Opera, and Helen’s beautiful score and libretto, based on the letters Sophie and Jean wrote to each other during their lives. It was a creative delight to play…

The semi-staged extracts we created were performed by our talented cast on Aug 7th at the Cockpit Theatre in London (to a sold out audience!) as part of the Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival 2021, to coincide with the new Sophie Taeuber-Arp exhibition at London’s Tate Modern. It was also broadcast online alongside a Q&A with the creative team from 10 Aug 10 – 07 Sept.

We hope this works-in-progress sharing is the next step to turning “Sophie” into a full scale opera in coming years… Watch this space!