Composer Lisa Bielawa’s Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser will feature world-renowned opera star Deborah Voigt singing a role created for her in Vireo’s Episode Eleven, “Circus,” to be shot on January 20, 2017 at the 16th Street Oakland Train Station in Oakland, California.
Vireo is a new, made-for-TV-and-online opera composed by Lisa Bielawa on a libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, which is unprecedented in that it is being created expressly in 12, 10-to-15-minute episodes for release online and on TV. In May 2017, KCET in Southern California and Link TV nationwide (DirecTV channel 375 and Dish Network channel 9410) will release all 12 episodes of Vireo at once for free, via on-demand streaming, which is a first for both. Vireo is the winner of the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award, and was recently awarded a prestigious MAP Fund Grant for 2016 through Grand Central Art Center.
Deborah Voigt will sing the role of the Queen of Sweden in Episode Eleven, “Circus.” Vireo’s cast includes mezzo-soprano Maria Lazarova as Vireo’s Mother, baritone Gregory Purnhagen as the Doctor, Ryan Glover as the student Raphael, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin as the Voice/Witch, mezzo-soprano Kristen Sollek as The Cow, bass-baritone Chung Wai Soong as The Elephant, 15-year-old soprano Emma MacKenzie as Vireo’s mysterious twin Caroline, and 18-year-old soprano Rowen Sabala in the title role of Vireo. “Circus” will also include Magik*Magik Orchestra; San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) & Chorus School; Lance Suzuki, piccolo; Matthias Bossi, drums; and approximately 50 amateur musicians, participating via the Amateur Music Network, in the role of The Audience.
The final episode of Vireo, “My Name is Vireo,” will be shot on January 16, 2017 and will feature the Kronos Quartet with lead Rowen Sabala in a Californian redwood forest. Episode Ten is in progress, and features the Vireo cast plus violinist Jennifer Koh with members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus School; Kate Campbell, toy piano; and Randy Matamoros, hurdy-gurdy.
Watch Vireo at Alcatraz: Behind the Scenes