The character of Raphael, the Doctor’s callow assistant, is introduced.
a new multimedia serial opera by composer Lisa Bielawa, directed by Charles Otte with a libretto by Erik Ehn, created for episodic broadcast on air and online.Produced through a partnership with California State University, Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), the unique multimedia initiative includes online articles and videos showcasing various facets of the theatrical production, as well as a television special of the opera presented by ARTBOUND KCETLink’s Emmy® award-winning arts and culture series.Filmed before live audiences, the television series will be rolled out over two years.The 30-minute pilot (consisting of Episode One “The Blow” and Episode Two “Mercury”) premiered on March 31 at 8 p.m.PT on KCET (Southern California) and will premiere nationally April 6 on Link TV at 8 p.m. The full episode is now available for online streaming at KCET.org/vireo.
The pilot features the world-renowned Kronos Quartet, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin; the San Francisco Girls Chorus; the Orange County School of the Arts Middle School Choir; mezzo-soprano Maria Lazarova; baritone Gregory Purnhagen; tenor Ryan Glover, drummer Matthias Bossi; and in the title role of Vireo, 16-year-old soprano Rowen Sabala. considers the nature and uses of female hysteria through time, as witch-hunters, early psychiatrists, and modern artists variously define the condition.Based on composer Bielawa’s own research at Yale as a Literature major, then freely adapted and re-imagined by librettist Erik Ehn, is a composite history of the way in which teenage-girl visionaries’ writings and rantings have been manipulated, incorporated, and interpreted by the communities of men surrounding them throughout history, from the European Dark Ages, to Salem, Massachusetts, 19th century France, the Surrealists in Paris, and contemporary performance art.Featuring arias for dying cows, infatuated students, disembodied ageless women, and a mysterious twin of Vireo herself, the opera provides a thoughtful, and sometimes humorous look at the universal issues of gender identity, perception, and reality.Innovating opera not only through content but through form, allows greater access of opera to a broader audience, through mainstream media and contemporary delivery systems.The piece considers authoritarian responses to independent, inspired imaginations, especially as they abide in young women.It scrutinizes the representation of women both in the historical form of opera and in modern media. The first tapings took place at the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana, Calif.