Music by Mikael Karlsson
Libretto by Kathryn Walat and Elle Kunnos de Voss
About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances


"...a startling science fiction conceit kickstarted the gripping one-act The Echo Drift. ... Everything about this presentation was virtuoso" - The New York Observer

"Stark and intricate, propulsive and a little film-noir, "The Echo Drift" is most exciting when it is fast and cacophonous, nearly overwhelming the senses." - The New York Times

"A truly moving, dynamic piece of music theater that deserves a great deal of attention. Karlsson’s music is a haunting mixture of acoustic and electronic sound... fully at the service of the drama. The libretto by de Voss and Walat is clever, ironic and at times disturbing." - Opera News

Convicted murderer Walker Loats is trapped in a timeless prison. Unexpectedly befriended by a moth with an offer of a perceived way to freedom, Walker must choose between paying her dues or taking a shortcut that offers to rig the game in her favor. Oscillating between the confines of a tiny cell and an expansive visual world of animation, The Echo Drift unravels a cycle of deceit, temptation, seduction, and fantastical perception. Featuring a live chamber ensemble, electronics, and a six-channel surround sound system, this world premiere opera explores the freewheeling nature of the mind when it is robbed of external stimuli and questions, when in extreme circumstances, is it possible to act in a way that goes against one’s nature? Running time: 75 minutes

The Echo Drift was commissioned, developed and produced by Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, and American Opera Projects. The Echo Drift was originally developed by Mikael Karlsson and Elle Kunnos de Voss in a full-length workshop presented by the Embassy of Sweden in Washington DC in 2014. Additional development was provided through the Opera Genesis Fellowship, a residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, made in partnership with American Opera Projects.

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(composer, co-librettist)
Mikael Karlsson writes music ranging from orchestral, ballets, chamber music, chamber opera and AAA video games. In 2014 he was awarded the Lakond Award to “an exceptional mid-career composer” from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His commissions for dance include works for Nederlands Dans Theater, Ailey II, the Royal Swedish Opera and Ballet, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Semperoper (Dresden) and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. He has worked with major contemporary music ensembles in the US (International Contemporary Ensemble, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), members of Alarm Will Sound and the Mivos Quartet) and Europe (Dahlkvist Quartet). Mr. Karlsson was a fellow in AOP’s Composer and the Voice program in the 2012/2103 Season. His opera-in-progress, Decoration, which originated in C&V was chosen to be part of the Manhattan School of Music's Page to Stage program. Along with The Echo Drift co-creator Elle Kunnos de Voss, she is the recipient of AOP’s first “Genesis Fellowship,” a residency at Hermitage Artist Retreat.

(co-librettist, designer)
Elle Kunnos de Voss is a New York City-based Swedish production designer and creative director of The Metrics Design Group. Her work ranges from award-winning architectural design projects to production design for film, set and costume design for performing arts, as well as writing for stage. Kunnos de Voss holds an M.A. from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design. In 2004 she moved to New York and cofounded The Metrics, for which she has completed architectural and interior design projects in New York, Europe, and Asia. Her projects have been featured on television and in books and magazines across the world. Kunnos de Voss is currently developing two librettos. Along with The Echo Drift co-creator Mikael Karlsson, she is the recipient of AOP’s first “Genesis Fellowship,” a residency at Hermitage Artist Retreat.

Kathryn Walat is co-librettist, with composer Gregory Spears, of the chamber opera Paul’s Case, developed by AOP and presented at PROTOTYPE Festival in 2014, Pittsburgh Opera, and Urban Arias; and recognized in New Yorker magazine’s list of Ten Notable Performances and Recordings for 2014. She is also librettist of Jason and the Argonauts, commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago and performed for over 20,000 school children. As a playwright, her work has been produced Off-Broadway at the Women’s Project, and across the country at Theatre @ Boston Court, Hangar Theater, Salvage Vanguard, Perishable Theater, and Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep. She has received commissions from MCC Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and New Georges, and has been in residence at such places as the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, The Playwrights’ Center, The American Academy in Rome, Ucross, and Yaddo. Kate received her BA from Brown University, and her MFA from Yale School of Drama.

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April 2018 - OPERA NEWS
Opera review: "The Echo Drift"

January 26, 2018 - I CARE IF YOU LISTEN
Opera review: "PROTOTYPE 2018: The Echo Drift Explores Human Nature"

Opera review: "An Evocative Score for Mikael Karlsson’s The Echo Drift"

January 21, 2018 - BROADWAYWORLD
Opera review: "Little Ms. ECHO How Do You Do? Very Well, at Prototype 2018"

January 20, 2018 - FEAST OF MUSIC
Opera review: "Prototype Festival: The Echo Drift at Baruch Performing Arts Center"

January 17, 2018 - NEW YORK OBSERVER
Opera review: "Prototype Festival Presents the Operas Major Companies Should Be Showing"

January 14, 2018THE NEW YORK TIMES
Opera Review: “Without Singing, the Moth Hits the High Notes in The Echo Drift”

January 12, 2018 - SUPERCONDUCTOR
Opera review: "Into Her Hypercube"

January 12, 2018MUSICAL AMERICA
Opera Review: “At the Prototype Festival, The Echo Drift Zaps the Mind”

January 21, 2018 - BROADWAYWORLD
Opera preview: "The PROTOTYPE of a Very 21st-Century New Opera-Music Theatre Festival, January 9-20"

October 27, 2015 - SRQ MAGAZINE
Opera profile: "Meet the Faces of New Opera"

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January 10-20, 2018
Co-presented by AOP and PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now with Baruch Performing Arts Center
Baruch Performing Arts Center - 55 Lexington Ave., New York, NY
Walker Loats - Blythe Gaissert
Governor & The Moth - John Kelly
Directed by Mallory Catlett
Conducted by Nicholas DeMaison
Environment Design by Elle Kunnos de Voss
Projection Design by Simon Harding
Animations by Dara Hamidi (with drawings by Elle Kunnos de Voss)
Orchestration by Mikael Karlsson & Michael P. Atkinson
With the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
Pianist Aaron Likness




September 2017
First Chance Music Workshop
Co-presented with PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now
South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, NY
Walker Loats - Blythe Gaissert
Governor/Moth - John Kelly
Conducted by Nicholas DeMaison
With the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
Pianist Aaron Likness
Directed by Mallory Catlett

March 2017
First Chance Music Workshop
Co-presented with PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now
Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, NY
Walker Loats - Blythe Gaissert
Governor/Moth - John Kelly
Conducted by Nicholas DeMaison
Pianist Aaron Likness

December 1, 2015
First Chance Libretto Reading w artist Q&A
Co-presented with PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now
HERE Arts Center
145 6th Avenue, New York, NY
Walker Loats - Stephanie Hayes
Governor - Julian Rozzell
Moth/Key - Todd D’Amour
Directed by Mallory Catlett

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American Opera Projects, Inc. • 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
718.398.4024 •