Listen to a MIDI realization of the opera
MAYA, a triathlete or para-triathlete, of any age (soprano). Range: C4 - Bb5 (ossia C6)
NAOMI, her coach, of any age (mezzo-soprano). Range: B3 - F#5
Note on Casting: The composer and librettist both support the casting of any kinds of bodies for this opera. The singers do not need to be thin or display physical traits traditionally thought of as “athletic.” They can be plus-size, disabled, non-binary, trans, or have any other kind of bodies. Throughout, the singers should be free to move as much as they want or can, being active and keeping things dynamic, and indicating how important bodily movement is to their identities as athletes.
Sense of SElf
an opera in one scene for soprano, mezzo-soprano, & piano
Music by Lisa Neher
Libretto by Kendra Leonard
Triathlete Maya’s hopes for the coming race season come to a sudden halt when she is diagnosed with breast cancer and must decide between surgical options. Her coach, Naomi, is ready to tackle recovery and reconditioning with a positive attitude and the latest wellness trends, but Maya isn’t ready for those yet. She has to consider how her choice impacts her entire future—as an athlete and as a whole person.
Sense of Self gives voice to the power and joy of female athleticism, the strength of women’s friendships, and to the challenging decisions women must make when confronted with breast cancer. The opera explores the impact of cancer on women’s sense of empowerment, plans for the future, family obligations, and self-image, and offers a vision of strength and hope for reinvention and renewal.
Sense of Self was written for Opera Elect's 2020-2021 season.