LA Times Features Lisa Bielawa's Episodic Opera 'Vireo'

May 9, 2016

On Saturday, May 7, 2016, the Los Angeles Times published the feature article How Southern California became the backdrop to an opera about a 'hysterical' woman, an in-depth look at the made-for-broadcast opera, Vireo: The Spiritual Journey of a Witch's Accuser by composer Lisa Bielawa.

 

Journalist Carolina A. Miranda writes, "Dusk is enveloping a small Shadow Hills ranch in steely gray light as a dying cow sings an aria. A chorus of milkmaids and a marching band lead the ill-fated bovine to her untimely death. In the background, a pair of alpacas watch the scene with puzzled curiosity. This is not a hallucination. It is an opera — a highly unusual one."

 

Bielawa's new opera, which is composed on a libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, is an artist residency project of Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), run by Director/Chief Curator John Spiak, and recently received a significant grant from the MAP Fund.

 

Production for the twelve episodes, which will be released all at once in spring 2017 for on-demand streaming on KCET.org, continues on May 15 in a converted warehouse soundstage in Downtown LA. An addition to the core Vireo cast, the shoot on May 15 for Episode 7 features PRISM Saxophone Quartet and PARTCH, an ensemble of eccentric microtonal instruments created by Northern California icon Henry Partch.

 

Photo: soprano Rowen Sabala, who plays the title role of Vireo. Photo credit: Remsen Allard.

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