Sophie Gopsill 卓见
Mezzo soprano Sophie Gopsill, (卓见 - Zhuo Jian) is a Chinese multi-talented mezzo-soprano with over 30 years of professional singing and acting experience. Born in Hong Kong, in 1950 her parents moved to China to conduct and direct western opera. Her father, famous conductor and composer Zhuo Ming Lee (卓明理), directed the Beijing National Opera House and the Harbin Opera House. Her mother, Deng Wan Sheng (邓宛生), who is a direct descendant of the aristocratic family of Deng Shi Ru (邓石如), the Qing Dynasty calligrapher, was operatic director. As a result, under her parents' guidance, Sophie was brought up on and around the stage and showed talent for music, dance, drama and art. In the early 60's the Cultural Revolution halted her musical education; her parents were sent to prison for being "intellectuals" whilst Sophie and her sisters were sent to hard labour camp for seven years on the Sino-Soviet border, living in primitive conditions in temperatures down to -40C in the winter. Music was put on hold as a result.
When the chaos subsided, Sophie became a member of a western classical music and drama group in China. During the 1970's she performed with Lanzhou Artistic Theatre and at the Harbin Opera House. In 1980 Sophie returned to Hong Kong and during the early 80's she performed in Hong Kong's City Hall and North Point Concert Hall, also on Hong Kong TV and radio. Sophie toured extensively in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, performing in live concerts, sports stadiums, on TV, radio and in opera houses and also for charity benefits.
In 1985 Sophie emigrated to the UK and for several years sang in Plymouth's Theatre Royal, Athenaeum Theatre, City Hall and Plymouth Festival. She was also a regular performer at the Plymouth Society of Music and sang at the Cheltenham International Festival.
In the late 80's and early 90's her career went on hold again, this time due to cancer and a brain tumour. In 1998 Sophie went to Naples, Italy for six years. Whilst there she performed at the annual Institute of Grenoble Music Festival, at the Maschio Angioino (Castel Nuovo), Salerno Music Conservatory, the Naples Community Theatre, at international functions and at the British Consulate. She also appeared as an actress in a well-known Italian TV film drama.
Since returning to live in UK, Sophie has returned several times to perform in Hong Kong under the baton of her late father, in both the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and City Hall. Most recently she was there for a big memorial concert for her late father. She has also performed at prestigious venues such as the Cadogan Hall, Church House in Westminster, the LSE and St Peter’s Church Chiswick. In 2011 she was invited as the main performer for the China National Day celebrations. In the south-east she has given many local concerts and recitals.
Sophie’s talents do not end there, as she has appeared as an actress in several films, and in photo shoots. She continues the work of her distinguished family ancestors in demonstrating calligraphy and reading Tang Dynasty poems to audiences. She also gives motivational talks based on her life story.
Sophie's repertoire is extensive, ranging from Chinese classical and folk songs to German lieder, through Russian, Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish etc lyric songs. Possessing a rich mezzo voice, she is a truly international singer. Her early singing coaching came from her parents and Professor Shen Xiang (for many years on the judging panel for Cardiff Singer of the World competition) and his wife Li Jin Wei. In Europe, Sophie has been coached by Laura Sarti and Giovanna de Liso and her repertoire informed by Anja Kampe.
Sophie is a survivor, who is passionate about making up the years that were lost to her as a result of the Cultural Revolution and subsequent hardships. Her philosophy is to take any opportunity that life presents and she is a great believer in the power of music as a life-strengthener.
She is available for concerts, recitals, church and civil ceremonies and also supports charitable fund-raising events by negotiation; examples are Concert in the Square, Hammersmith and Demelza.
Copyright © Sophie Gopsill 2014