mannes opera presents kate soper's here be sirens

The second ever presentation of this acclaimed work will take place on February 16 at 4:00PM and February 17 at 7:30PM at 66 W. 12th Street in New York City

NEW YORK, January 18, 2024 – Mannes Opera is thrilled to present Kate Soper's "Here Be Sirens" from February 16-17, 2024, directed by Jen Pitt at the Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall at 66 West 12th Street in New York City. This production – the second ever presentation of this widely acclaimed work – is open to the public and free with registration.

Described by The New Yorker as "erudite, hilarious, furiously inventive," "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" (The Wall Street Journal). Written in 2014, it is Kate Soper's first piece for the stage and is scored for three singers and a piano (without a conductor).

"Kate Soper, a dynamic and genre-defying contemporary composer, pushes the boundaries of form and structure in innovative ways. "Here Be Sirens," a captivating narrative exploring myth and fable, presents a formidable challenge that requires exceptional skill, craftsmanship, and talent from the performers. I'm proud to provide our students with the opportunity to engage with such a thrilling and demanding musical experience,” said Emma Griffin, Managing Artistic Director of Mannes Opera.

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 and 2024 Rome Prize fellow, Soper has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Koussevitzky Foundation, and has been commissioned by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, and Yarn/Wire. She has received residencies and fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Camargo Foundation, the Macdowell Colony, Tanglewood, and Royaumont, among others.

Mannes Opera announces a season of contemporary American operas, with works by composers on the forefront of today’s opera scene, including Kate Soper, Rachel Peters, and Mark Adamo. Sirens, mermaids, love and war: these stories center on myth and archetype and examine the human condition through the exploration of ideas both human and mythic. Featuring works from 1984 to today, this groundbreaking season displays the virtuosity, thrill and innovation that marks the current explosion of new American work and explores the myths, archetypes, events, trends and zeitgeists that inform our time.

The College of Performing Arts at The New School was formed in 2015 and draws together the Mannes School of Music, the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the School of Drama. With each school contributing its unique culture of creative excellence, the College of Performing Arts is a hub for cross-disciplinary collaboration, bold experimentation, innovative education, and world-class performances.

The 1,000 students at the College of Performing Arts are actors, performers, writers, improvisers, creative technologists, entrepreneurs, composers, arts managers, and multidisciplinary artists who believe in the transformative power of the arts for all people. Students and faculty collaborate with colleagues across The New School in a wide array of disciplines, from the visual arts and fashion design, to the social sciences, public policy, advocacy, and more. 

The curriculum at the College of Performing Arts is dynamic, inclusive, and responsive to the changing arts and culture landscape. New degrees and coursework, like the new graduate degrees for Performer-Composers and Artist Entrepreneurs are designed to challenge highly skilled artists to experiment, innovate, and engage with the past, present, and future of their artforms. New York City’s Greenwich Village provides the backdrop for the College of Performing Arts, which is housed at Arnhold Hall on West 13th Street and the historic Westbeth Artists Community on Bank Street.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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The New School

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