Sophie Rashbrook is a writer, librettist, opera dramaturg and surtitler whose writing has been described as ‘ingenious’ and ‘adventurous’ in The Times.
She is a passionate advocate for opera – from the fringe to the main stage – and enjoys working collaboratively with composers and artists. Recent commissions include: a new aria for soprano Alexandra Lowe for the National Opera Studio’s 12:42 project (music by Mira Calix) and an acclaimed song-cycle (Six Songs of Melmoth) for Cheryl Frances-Hoad for the 2020 Oxford Lieder Festival, which was performed by Carolyn Sampson and pianist Joseph Middleton, and is programmed as part of Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival (2021). She wrote the words to Nature is Returning, a new song (featuring live hand-sanitation) by Joshua Borin written for mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston’s Lockdown Songbook, a City Music Foundation project which has subsequently been performed at the Ryedale Festival and recorded on Delphian records.
She is currently acting as co-lead artist on CoDI Opera – a mentoring programme for six composers who are writing their own opera scenes. She is also Dramaturg on Dr Rob Fokkens’ forthcoming opera, Bhekizizwe, (libretto by Mkhululi Mabija), funded by Arts Council Wales. At the start of lockdown she had the privilege of working as a writing companion to Guildhall students on their digital lockdown project, ‘Lifesongs’ (dir. Dinah Stabb and Jamie Bradley), and can currently be heard as a podcast host for the Longborough Opera podcast series.
Formerly Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera (2013-16), she holds a first-class degree in Russian and French and an MPhil in Russian Studies from Cambridge University, as well as a distinction in Opera Making from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She speaks fluent French and Russian and spent an extremely humbling year playing the ‘cello at the St Petersburg Conservatoire.
Her writing has been performed by the Garsington Opera’s Alvarez Young Artists (Magic Flute and Don Giovanni dialogue), and the Royal Opera House’s Opera Dots workshop series. Excerpts from her play, ‘Ralph’s Story’, inspired by the late set designer and Kindertransportee, Ralph Koltai, have been performed at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and The Other Room, Cardiff.
As a producer, editor, surtitler, and opera expert, she has worked for: the Royal Opera House, Longborough Opera, Garsington Opera, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne Opera Cup, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Dorling Kindersley, Warner Classics and Askonas Holt.
This summer, she created a new surtitle translation for Die Walküre at Longborough Festival Opera, praised in The Stage for being ‘fresh and contemporary’, and will soon create the surtitles for Mami Wata by Pegasus Opera at the Royal Opera House, as part of the Engender Festival.