When Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House premiered in 1879, the character of Nora Helmer became a world-wide symbol of female empowerment, and spurred many women to begin finding their voices in a patriarchal world.
Inspired by the continuing relevance of Nora's plight, we are currently developing a 90-minute opera entitled A Doll's House: A New Opera, composed by Grace Oberhofer and directed by Allison Benko.
The piece follows the three-act structure of Henrik Ibsen's original play, using music as Nora's "gilded cage" throughout a story of illegal loans, blackmail, and the unraveling of a domestic life that honors manipulation over authenticity. As Nora reaches the end of a three-day masquerade to hide her past actions from her husband, she is forced to find her own voice--it is then that her musical confines begin to unravel.
About the Artists
Grace Oberhofer (composer/lyricist/librettist) is a recent Tufts graduate, having received a B.A. in Music with a minor in Italian Studies (summa cum laude). While at Tufts, Grace pursued as many theatrical forms as possible, collaborating as a performer, composer, sound designer and music director in both student and faculty-led productions, including shows with the Tufts Drama Department, the Tufts Opera Ensemble, Hype! Mime Troupe, Torn Ticket II, Pen Paint & Pretzels, and the Bare Bodkin Theatre Company. She was lucky enough to compose for the Tufts Drama Department on two occasions, first as a performer and musician in Measure for Measure (Julietta), and then as the sound designer for a live instrumental ensemble in Or, by Liz Duffy Adams. Her work as a sound designer has continued on a professional scale with Gloucester Stage Company (Every Christmas Story Ever Told) and with Tufts (Venus and Fur, spring 2016). She moved to Brooklyn upon graduation in May, 2015, and has since interned with HERE arts for their annual contemporary music theater festival, PROTOTYPE; assistant music directed SPUN (composer Jeremy Schonfeld) at the Adirondack Theater Festival, and joined the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop as an auditor. She also has continued her work in performance through staged readings and residencies with writers Julia Izumi (Dixon Place; HB Studios) and Annette Storckman (Spicy Witch Productions), which has taught her about the new work development process first-hand. Her compositional repertoire ranges from instrumental works to art song (in English and Italian), from pop music to an original 30-minute operetta which she wrote while in high school at Tacoma School of the Arts. She'd like to thank the Tank, the fantastic cast and staff of "A Doll's House: A New Opera", her family, friends, and her right hand [wo]man, Allison Benko
Allison Benko is a theatre artist based in Boston and New York. After directing the first production of A Doll's House: A New Opera at Tufts University, Allison has remained passionate about the project, and has taken a more active role in shaping the opera's structure and words. She recently completed a stage directing apprenticeship at Gloucester Stage Company, where she directed an AEA production of Every Christmas Story Ever Told. At GSC, she wrote and directed The Arthur Miller Centennial, and directed staged readings of IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play, The Scavengers and PRIDE. She also served as the assistant director on every mainstage production at Gloucester Stage Company that season. Allison has directed a wide variety of music-theatre, including a music-infused outdoor production of Twelfth Night, and the musical theatre gem She Loves Me. She has studied puppetry with master puppeteer Faye Dupras, and Shakespeare at the British-American Dramatic Academy. She holds a B.A. in Drama from Tufts University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is honored to call Grace Oberhofer her best friend. Thanks to The Tank, to our very talented cast, to our stellar producing team, and to my loving family.