They filmed the opera 'Vireo' on Alcatraz. Soon you can stream it on your iPad or phone
"Bielawa’s new opera, “Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser,” is unlike any you have seen before, in content and in form. Filmed in the historic San Francisco penitentiary (now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area) as well as other locations in the Bay Area, Southern California and New York over three years, “Vireo” is believed to be the first major opera project to be packaged episodically for digital distribution." Read the full story
"There is no stage here – sets include forests, indoors, a monastery, and even the Alcatraz Prison. The singers and musicians share the action locations equally, all shot by a single camera as the opera weaves almost cryptically from 16th-century-France witchcraft all the way to the present day.
Bielawa’s dense score includes tension-building interval repetitions, nods to minimalism, descending chromatic lines, percussion effects, piano chords and even touches of familiar children’s songs." Read the full review
"The effect of the entire presentation, originally shown on PBS station KCET, is most remarkable, moving, the truly unified 'total socio-artistic phenomenon' that melds all elements in a moving, ultra-memorable and unforgettable way."
"What is iconic and beautifully unforgettable comes about in part through the centrality of the film of the opera, shot on various sites as a film-music-drama more than a film of the staging." Read the full review
How Southern California became the backdrop to an opera about a 'hysterical' woman
"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." Read the full story
Feature in LA Weekly
The World’s First Streamable, Binge-Watchable Opera Is Being Made in L.A.
"That form, like the story itself, is unusual and innovative. Bielawa and GCAC are working with KCETLink to release Vireo in a series of 12 operatic mini episodes. The first two episodes are available to stream for free online now. The rest will be released in the spring of 2017. It will be the world’s first streamable, serial, binge-watchable opera.
"That is, if Vireo is an opera at all. There are certainly elements that are highly operatic — the singing, the orchestration, the libretto. But opera, by definition, is performed live. Vireo is performed “live” in front of cameras, but the audience will consume it at home on their laptops with headphones or through their television screens." Read the full story
An Opera for the Netflix Generation, Filmed on Alcatraz
"Alcatraz has been the setting of many Hollywood blockbusters from Escape from Alcatraz to The Rock. But a serialized, made-for-video opera? Now that’s surely a first." Read the full story
Lisa Bielawa's Vireo wins 2015 ASCAP Multimedia Award
"Lisa Bielawa’s new opera, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser, recently won the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award, given in recognition for the opera’s 'outstanding inter-related components.'" Read the full story
Feature in International Arts Manager
New serial opera to be broadcast online
"Two public taping sessions are taking place in California this month, aiming to record the pilot episode of a new episodic opera performance intended for serial broadcast over the internet." Read the full story
New Opera Will Be Available Online in Short Episodes
"Lisa Bielawa’s Vireo has been created specifically for episodic release via broadcast." Read the full story
Interview with Lisa Bielawa in I Care If You Listen
"Intrigued by the consort of moving parts and the integration of multiple disciplines in the production as well as the tireless dedication of its core members, I followed up with composer Lisa Bielawa to find out more about this highly anticipated project." Read the full story