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p r i s m



"Stunning... with Ellen Reid's incandescent 'p r i s m,' an opera composer is born." - Los Angeles Times

LA Opera Off Grand and Beth Morrison Projects combine forces for a fascinating world premiere at REDCAT. 

p r i s m tells the story of an ill girl, Bibi, and her doting mother, Lumee, who live locked away from the world. One night mysterious voices seduce Bibi, fracturing her devotion to Lumee and causing her to question their isolated life.

p r i s m explores the elasticity of memory after trauma, and the lengths one will go to to "feel better"—no matter the price.

Please Note: This production uses strobe lighting. This performance contains scenes that depict partial nudity and sexual violence. Parental discretion is advised.   


There are currently no upcoming performances.

Performances take place at REDCAT (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, 90012)

The estimated running time is one hour and 45 minutes, including one intermission.

p r i s m was commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, David & Kiki Gindler, Linda & Stuart Nelson, and Elizabeth & Justus Schlichting, with additional support from Nancy & Barry Sanders; OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers, funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trust; and National Endowment for the Arts - Art Works.

The LA Opera presentation of p r i s m will be work’s world premiere, to be followed by performances at the PROTOTYPE Festival in New York.


Creative Team


p r i s m tells the story of a young girl, Bibi, and her mother, Lumee, who live locked away in a colorless Sanctuary where they devote all their time to trying to heal Bibi’s legs from a mysterious sickness that has left her immobile. 

Despite their great fear of the outside, their life in Sanctuary is filled with joy as they play games and recount Lumee’s heroic rescue that led them safely to Sanctuary. However, through the crack under their door, outside of Sanctuary, hovering in a void below, lies Chroma, a chorus of Bibi's past selves that are shut out by her repressed memory. Every day when Lumee tries to feed Bibi her Medicine, Chroma comes alive and tries to sneak through the crack under the door, trying to make Bibi remember something hot, remember something wet, remember something from before... Despite desperately wanting to please her mother, every day without fail Chroma’s voices overwhelm Bibi and she spits out her Medicine in order to be free of their sounds.

Fed up with Bibi’s seemingly rebellious refusal to swallow her Medicine, one day Lumee threatens to ban Bibi from their game if she will not take her dose. Devastated at the idea of losing Lumee’s affection, Bibi tries to conquer her fear. That night while Lumee sleeps, Bibi steals some Medicine and tries to swallow her dose. Chroma jumps at their chance to reach Bibi alone and through the crack under the door they flood in a cloud of “Blue,” triggering Bibi’s memory of their life before Sanctuary.

As Chroma illuminates more and more colors and memories from their past, Bibi starts to question Lumee’s heroic rescue story, and whether or not she is really sick at all. Strained under the weight of these new memories, Bibi and Lumee’s relationship begins to fracture and fade as the Sanctuary they’ve constructed literally and emotionally is torn to the ground.

Faced with the truth of their past, Bibi must choose whether to break free of her mother’s lies and face the world alone in all of its terrifying color or to resign herself to living within her mother’s pale, constructed reality in order to hold on to the only love she's ever known.

p r i s m explores the viscosity of memory after trauma, and the lengths one will go to to protect someone they love from the world, the truth, and themselves, no matter what the price.

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