March 21, 2013
Composer:Julia Adolphe
Librettist:Julia Adolphe
Based on a true story, Sylvia is an intimate, one-act chamber opera that links two distinct, traumatic events: the sexual assault of a young girl at the hands of a family friend and the tragedy of the Holocaust. The opera delves into the memories of its title character, a young Jewish woman in psychodrama therapy. Sylvia recalls for her doctors, fellow patients, and the audience, how, as a teenager, she engaged in a sexual relationship with Nathan, a much older man who was a friend of her father.

Sylvia is set in psychodrama therapy, a unique branch of psychoanalysis where patients and doctors work together to explore past traumas through role-playing and reenactment. The 50-minute opera is scored for clarinet doubling alto saxophone, cello, and piano. The characters include Sylvia, a soprano, Female Doctor, a mezzo-soprano, Male Patient, a tenor, and Male Doctor, a baritone. The story unfolds over the course of a single therapy session where Sylvia is the protagonist, the patient chosen to re-create and re-imagine events from her personal life with the aid of the group. Together, the singers move fluidly through past, present, and an imaginary future; they show a single character through multiple perspectives, often simultaneously. The Male and Female Doctors, along with Sylvia and the Male Patient, portray important figures in Sylvia’s life. They take turns transforming into Sylvia, her Mother, her Father, Nathan, Nathan’s Wife, and Nathan’s Son. They embody objects that hold significance for Sylvia, such as her Father’s sculptures or the walls of the dressing room. In this manner, the format of psychodrama delivers an operatic experience that is bold, intimate, and exposed. Its structure reflects the ephemeral nature of childhood memory.

Sylvia suggests that we are all remnants of a past, of a psychological or cultural narrative, and that our only hope to move forward is to confront these histories and forge our own future. Creative self-expression, the sharing of one’s life stories, leads to understanding, resilience, forgiveness, and redemption. Sylvia’s imaginative exploration of her dreams and memories, of her hopes and fears, illuminates the path towards personal freedom.

Title Information

All information is derived from OPERA America's Season Schedule of Performances and titles databases which date back to 1991. OPERA America is constantly updating this data. If you feel that a work or an artist has been omitted or that information is incorrect, please use the linked forms below.
Title Information Form
Artist Information Form

mom have massage son son friends vs mum xxx
To have your company’s photos included in the header rotation, send photos that are at least 1200px wide and 550px tall to Please note that submission of photos does not guarantee inclusion.
All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

Privacy PolicyReturns Policy
Financial Statements
© Copyright 1995-2017 OPERA America Inc.

Technical issue with the website? Let us know.