Ophelia Forever

                         "We know what we are but not what we may be"

Composer: Amy Beth Kirsten, Libretto adapted from Shakespeare's Hamlet

Production Photos


Violated Saint:
Pamela Stein

 Mad Mermaid:
Erin Brittain

Faithful Seductress:
Elspeth Davis

Jimmi Kilduff

 Director:       Rebecca Duren


Grant Gilman

Opera Synopsis

Three archetypal Ophelias have emerged over the centuries based on how society viewed women of the time. Ophelia forever is a psychological, abstract application of these three archetypes: the Violated Saint, the Mad Mermaid, and the Faithful Seductress.

 This short one-act opera showcases both the character of Ophelia and the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare's intended interpretation of her personality and death, as well as the multiplicity and struggles of women in today's world.

The piece is comprised of two continuous sections. The first section establishes  the characters as different psychological aspects of one person: they begin singing in unison and then, as if slowly ripping apart, they begin to phase out of unison. Three arias are presented that display the singing style and sound world of each Ophelia.

The second section of the pieces explores the Ophelia's struggle for control and to assert their individual personas. A mute, zombie-like Hamlet appears at the onset of each personality's aria, eliciting a surreal memory of their relationship. This section climaxes in the final Trio when the mute Hamlet reappears and tries to strangle the Ophelias as they are singing. For further information about the piece, please visit the composer's website at www.amybethkirsten.com.

W.G. Simmonds, The Drowning of Ophelia 

 * This is a past
 performance Performance Dates: December 7th and 9th, 2007 at 
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD