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Composer

Sonja Karlsen

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Sonja Karlsen
Sonja Karlsen
Pencil sketch by Pierre R. Schwob, 1969

As the winner of the American Opera Auditions Competition, Sonja Karlsen made her operatic debut as Mimi in "La Boheme," at the Teatro Lirico in Mantua, Italy, going on to sing many leading roles with opera companies in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, France, and the United States. She performed in numerous concerts and recitals all over the world, including eight years of concerts in the villas and palaces of Italy, sponsored by the Italian government.

Ms. Karlsen has been a recipient of distinguished awards, grants, and prizes, including the Wm. Mateus Sullivan Foundation (several grants), the Palm Beach Opera Annual Competition, (1st prize), the Loew Foundation (grant), the Canadian Women's Club Competition (1st prize), the Corbett Foundation (travel grants) and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation (2 grants), and was twice a New York Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions Competition.

Currently, Ms. Karlsen is the Artistic Director of the Enchanted Forest Opera Company in New York City—a musical theatre company which performs for children and young-at-heart audiences. The Enchanted Forest Opera is on the roster of the New York Foundation for the Arts. As such, they are accredited as Artists-in-Residence for the State of New York.

Ms. Karlsen has been teaching and lecturing on musical subjects for the past 13 years and has given master classes and lectures in England, South America, the United States and Japan.

Bernadette Soubirous
Bernadette Soubirous

As a writer/lyricist, she wrote and composed a musical play called "Bernadette," for Broadway audiences. It is based on the story of Bernadette Soubirous (St. Bernadette) of Lourdes, France. Bernadette was the young, uneducated girl who saw 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary in a grotto. Catholics believe that these events led to the emergence of a spring whose waters possess supernatural healing properties.

Ms. Karlsen wrote and composed "The Emperor's Birthday," a musical comedy to be enjoyed by both children and adults. She wrote several story-hour scripts for the Enchanted Forest Opera, as introductions to the featured shows. Also, among her writing credits is "Looking for Christmas"—a holiday play starring the clever feline detective, Purrrlock Holmes (yes, that's three R's). This play has been performed many times in schools and hospitals in the NYC area.

By adding dialogue and creating new characters, Sonja expanded the 20-minute show, "Monsters: The Beast Things in Life," by Martha Eddins, to a 45-minute show. Other writing credits include several workshop scripts: "The Three R's Go to the Theatre," "Hats On, Hats Off," and others. These are for educational purposes and are hands-on workshops for children.

Ms. Karlsen collaborated with musical partner, Anna Bartos, on a one-woman show called "La Maja Olvidada," based on the paintings of Goya and songs of Granados. Ms. Bartos has performed this work many times, mainly in university settings, including New York University. They also collaborated on a project for the NEA, called "A Sound of Wings"—a two-woman show based on the poetry of American women from 1650-1950, which explored the changing roles of women in American history, viewed poetically.

Ms. Karlsen has written lyrics to many individual songs. Several have been recorded. As a translator and adaptor, she has written English lyrics to French, Spanish and German songs.

Sonja Karlsen
408 West 34th Street - 5L
New York, NY 10001
email: sonjasong@aol.com
voice: (212) 594-7086
fax: (646) 349-1396
Below are works by S.Karlsen that every music lover should explore:
 
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