The Echo Drift tells the story of Walker Loats, a convicted murderer serving a lenghty sentence in a timeless prison. As she struggles with the effects of complete isolation she is unexpectedly befriended by a Moth. Exploring the tension between the real and imagined, the story pivots around concepts of time and plays out in the space between opposing extremes - physically and psychologically. 

The Echo Drift is the brainchild of composer Mikael Karlsson and designer/librettist Elle Kunnos de Voss. Both swedes living in NYC and long time friends this is their first creative collaboration.

Since the first ideation session on a stoop in early 2014 the project has gone through many iterations and in Dec 2014 The Echo Drift was presented, as a full length workshop at the House of Sweden in Washington DC, in collaboration with the Swedish Embassy in the US, The Swedish Consulate General of New York, House of Sweden and Rough State Sound. 

In 2015 The Echo Drift world premiere production was commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects and PROTOTYPE, produced by HERE Arts Center and Beth Morrison Projects and scheduled to be presented at the 2018 PROTOTYPE Festival

The same year Karlsson and Kunnos de Voss received the first annual Opera Genesis Fellowship by The Hermitage Artist Retreat and New York City's American Opera Projects to develop the project further at the Hermitage in Florida. 

In October 2016 The Echo Drift creative team was joined by co-librettist Kathryn Walat.

With The Echo Drift, we were interested in the space between opposing extremes: the physical (a confined cell) versus the psychological (the mind), endless time (a timeless prison) versus a lifespan of a few days (the lifespan of a moth), a confined space (a solitary cell) versus a place (The Echo Drift) where space and time are pulled to a single point, and the true nature of a person versus her better intentions.

In The Echo Drift, a con artist in solitary confinement struggles with the effects of complete isolation. Robbed of external stimuli, her mind unleashes the uncompromised nature of her being onto herself, allowing for a merging of the real and the imagined in a way that is truthful beyond the specifics of the story at hand.

This allows us as story-tellers to incorporate animated visuals and spatial sound elements in a way that isn’t only fanciful, but instead necessary to tell the story as an immersive experience for the audience.
Mikael Karlsson & Elle Kunnos de Voss, Co-Creators

The 70-minute monodrama will have its world premiere as part of the 2018 Prototype Festival on January 10th.
The Echo Drift was commissioned, developed and produced by Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, and American Opera Projects. 

Produced in association with Baruch Performing Arts Center
January 10, 12 – 13, 18 – 20 at 7:30pm - At Baruch Performing Arts Center


Music by Mikael Karlsson
Libretto by Elle Kunnos de Voss & Kathryn Walat
Directed by Mallory Catlett
Conducted by Nicholas DeMaison
Environment Design (set and animation drawings) by Elle Kunnos de Voss
Projection Design by Simon Harding
Lighting Design by Christopher Kuhl
Animations by Dara Hamidi and Simon Harding
Orchestration by Mikael Karlsson & Michael P. Atkinson

With the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
Pianist Aaron Likness

Walker Loats Blythe Gaissert
Governor & The Moth John Kelly