opera project


Composer: Jennifer Jolley
Librettist: Hai-Ting Chinn
Director: Stephanie Havey
Music Director: Chaowen Ting
Sound designer: Sun Hee Kil


The libretto reading of Spacewalk was funded by the 2023 Opera America Discovery Grant for Women Composers, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Partial commissioning support of Spacewalk is provided by the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program, sponsored by CUNY.


Spacewalk is an opera in seven vignettes, one for each hour of the first all-female spacewalk, which took place in October 2019 outside the International Space Station. Following the format of the seven-hour public broadcast from NASA, the work intersperses the real-time radio conversations of astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir with Mission Control CapCom Stephanie Wilson talking during their spacewalk, with scenes of other female astronauts “in studio” explaining the difficulties, dangers, and delights of their assignment. These exchanges between actors and forebears provide crucial technical insight into the unfolding drama to the audience and heighten their contemplation and emotive response.

Libretto Reading

On October 21, 2023, Jolley and Chinn held a Libretto reading at OPERA America's Mac A. Scorca Hall. Watch the full reading here:

Meet the team

Jennifer Jolley

Jennifer Jolley (composer) is a composer, conductor, and professor person. Her work is founded on the belief that the pleasures and excesses of music have the unique potential to engage political and provocative subjects. Addressing a range of topics such as climate change, #MeToo, feminist history, and the abuses of the Putin regime, Jennifer strives to write pieces that are equally enjoyable and meaningful. She is now an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition in the Department of Music, Multimedia, Theatre & Dance at Lehman College in the Bronx and has been a composition faculty member at Interlochen Arts Camp since 2015.

Hai-Ting Chinn

American Mezzo-soprano and librettist Hai-Ting Chinn (librettist) performs in a wide range of styles and venues. She has performed with New York City Opera, The Wooster Group, Philip Glass/Robert Wilson, OperaOmnia, and American Symphony Orchestra. As an Artist in Residence at HERE arts center, Hai-Ting created and performed Science Fair: An Opera With Experiments, a staged solo show of science set to music. An ardent advocate of new vocal repertoire, she has premiered new works by Conrad Cummings, Yoav Gal, Renée Favand-See, Amy Beth Kirsten, Tarik O’Regan, Ellen Reid, Matthew Schickele, Stefan Weisman, and Du Yun, and she was featured in the 2017 Resonant Bodies Festival, a singer-centered celebration of new music in New York.

Stephanie Havey

Winner of the Adelaide Bishop Award and the Opera America Director-Designer Showcase, Stephanie Havey (director) has staged productions for Seattle Opera, Opera de Montreal, Pittsburgh Opera, Arizona Opera, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Michigan Opera Theatre, Atlanta Opera, Opera Omaha, New York City Opera, North Carolina Opera, and others. Ms. Havey is sought after as a collaborator for the development of new opera, staging new works with Opera Philadelphia for their Double Exposure event, Opera America’s New Works Forum, and is in her fourth season of developing new works as the Resident Stage Director for North American New Opera Workshop.

Chaowen Ting

Chosen from an international field as one of the conducting fellows of The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors, Chaowen Ting (conductor) conducted the Dallas Opera Orchestra in two gala concerts where she did “a remarkable job with the many nuances on this stunningly beautiful selection.” In addition to her fellowship with the Dallas Opera, she has conducted for the Opera Philadelphia Composer-in-Residence Program. She also won top awards from National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competitions for two consecutive years. She currently serves as Music Director of NANOWorks Opera and Principal Guest Conductor of Ensemble VIM, a contemporary music collective with a focus on diversity within the arts.

Sun Hee Kil

Sun Hee Kil is a New York based sound designer/engineer originally from South Korea. Just started Assistant Professor of Sound Design position at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts, State University of New York at Purchase. This new Sound Design BFA program will start in Fall 2024 and she is very excited! She was Associate Professor of Sound Design, the Head of Design & Technology in the Department of Theatre Arts and Program Director of Minor in Audio Engineering at the State University of New York at New Paltz 2014-2023. She served as associate sound designer at the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, Bernhardt/Hamlet (Broadway), Choir Boy (Broadway, TONY Best Sound Design), Dreamgirls Tour (Shanghai, China & Tokyo, Japan), Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas (New Victory). Assistant Sound Design for The Rose Tattoo (Broadway) and Greater Clements (Lincoln Center Theater).