premiered works


Music by Mikael Karlsson

Libretto by Kathryn Walat and Elle Kunnos de Voss

The Echo Drift


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? 


Kathryn Walat   Librettist

Kathryn Walat

Elle Kunnos De Voss   Librettist, Designer

Elle Kunnos De Voss
Librettist, Designer


A truly moving, dynamic piece of music theater that deserves a great deal of attention.
— Opera News

Best of 2018: “a totally original and stunning, immersive piece… I'd be perfectly content if one of the pieces in this year's festival has even nearly its impact.” - BroadwayWorld

"...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

The Echo Drift balanced an immersive multidimensional experience with a refreshing affirmation of human solidarity. ... Mikael Karlsson’s music deftly avoided a sense of both meter and ambiguity, underscoring and propelling the stark plot without making it linear. The score was modest, absorbing, and lush.” - I Care If You Listen


Duration 80' / no intermission

Commission 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.

Premiere January 10, 2018; Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, NY; AOP and PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now with Baruch Performing Arts Center; Nicholas DeMaison, conductor; Mallory Catlett, director.

Roles (2) Walker Loach · mezzo-soprano ; Governor & The Moth · spoken

Instrumentation (8) Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Alto/Tenor/Baritone Saxophones, Bassoon, Harp, Piano, Cello, Bass, Electronic Production

Publisher Staged performances of this work require licensing through the composer.

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