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Free Preview of Princess Sophia Opera

by Amy Carney on 2018-03-12T11:20:00-08:00 in Events

JUNEAU – Orpheus Project will present a free preview of The Princess Sophia Opera at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 17th, in the atrium of APK building at 395 Whittier Street.

Led by artistic director William Todd Hunt, local and guest artists will perform selections from The Princess Sophia Opera with piano accompaniment. This free preview is the culmination of a week of workshops with the composer, librettist, cast, orchestra, and production design team. This program will be less than 60 minutes. Orpheus Project invites attendees to join them immediately following the performance, at T.K. McGuires at the Prospector Hotel for a reception and to meet the opera’s creators and cast members. 

Orpheus Project has commissioned a full scale operatic work by composer Emerson Eads and librettist Dave Hunsaker based on the S.S. Princess Sophia tragedy of 1918 [1]. The full opera will be premiered in Juneau this October to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Princess Sophia, the deadliest maritime accident in Alaskan waters to date.

The preview is co-sponsored as part of the Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums’ year of commemoration of the sinking of the Princess Sophia.  The State Museum will feature an exhibition on the Princess Sophia this summer.

A person experiencing a disability who needs accommodation for events hosted by the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum can contact the Division’s ADA coordinator at (907) 465‑2988 to make any necessary arrangements.


[1] The S.S. Princess Sophia, a Canadian Pacific Railway steamer, departed Skagway, Alaska on October 23, 1918 carrying roughly 350 passengers- most of whom were departing the Yukon River valley’s struggling gold mining communities for the winter. Only a few hours into the voyage, the Sophia ran aground, at full speed, on Vanderbilt Reef near Juneau in a blinding snow storm. She sat on the rocks for 40 hours as rescue ships from Juneau waited nearby for the storm to ease before mounting any serious rescue attempts. However, before any of the passengers could be rescued, the sea and wind tore the Sophia off the reef. She sank in the evening of October 25, taking all 350 lives with her- making this the deadliest maritime disaster ever along the entire Pacific seaboard of North America. Sophia’s story is relatively unknown. This tragedy was overshadowed by World War I and the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918-19. Through the medium of opera, we will bring a new awareness to her story.

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