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Photo: Mike Hoban
Glyndebourne Opera

Lunn, John

Zoe (1999-2000)

Duration: 100 minutes
An opera in four acts

Libretto by Stephen Plaice (E)

Professional roles: S,T,Bar,B; Children's main roles: 3 girls,2 boys; Youth chorus; 2.1.corA.2.bcl.2asax.t.sax.2- claves-drum kit-harp-elec.gtr-elec.bass gtr-strings
Abbreviations (PDF)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Stephen Langridge, director/Stephen Plaice, text/Conor Murphy, designer
Conductor: James Morgan
Company: children from Sussex schools/Brighton Youth Orchestra


CASEY FLOOD, a private detectiveBaritone
SOPHIE LAVALLE, a glamorous film actressSoprano
FELIX, a handsome hunkboy singer
JOJO, a mixergirl singer
GEMMA, a wannabeegirl singer
LUKE, a bass playerboy singer
ZOE, a mysterious girlgirl singer
MR TRAHERNE/JUDGE, a teacher of film studies and citizenshipTenor
DR HERKOMER, a geneticistBass
College students, eco activists, Zoe/Sophie clones, jurors/public gallery/court personnel, police/prison officersYouth chorus

Time and Place
England, the present


Former film star Sophie Lavalle asks private detective Casey Flood to help her find the daughter she had adopted eighteen years before. Her only clues are photographs she receives once a year of a girl growing up, each one marked 'her birthday'. The girl looks exactly like her. Playing the role of a talent spotter for a record label, he discovers Zoe Herkomer – who is the spitting-image of her mother – in a sixth-form college at Adambridge, where fellow students Luke and Felix have become obsessed with her, as has her film studies teacher, Mr Traherne. Felix invites her to sing with his band, the Mains, and Zoe's tryout is successful. Afterwards, Luke walks Zoe home. Her father's business is genetic engineering: her mother died when she was born. Flood and Sophie Lavalle turn up at Zoe's home to discover the truth. Dr Herkomer turns out to be a former obsessive fan of Sophie's, to whom she once gave a lock of her hair. From this, he explains, he cloned Zoe. Suddenly, Zoe turns up. Two years later, Zoe is living with Mr Traherne. On the TV news she recognises Luke, now an eco-warrior demonstrating against Herkomer's activities. She joins him in a raid on her father's business in which Herkomer is accidentally killed. Zoe is tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. Five years later, Luke – just released himself – visits her in Holloway. The effects of cloning have aged Zoe alarmingly. They take poison together. Back in Casey Flood's office, some time after Zoe's funeral, a young girl comes in called Emilia Smith. She is the replica of Zoe, and she wants him to find her mother…


Contemporary, Ethics, Magic/Mystery, Relationships

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