Raphael (tenor Ryan Glover) is a romantic young man who becomes infatuated with Vireo. He believes himself infatuated with knowledge, but is confused about what knowledge is; confused as well about what infatuation is. What he mistakes for love is a yearning to be free of “knowledge” and selfish desires. But with limited self-awareness, he misses transcendence and settles on hyperventilation.
In Episode One: The Blow & Episode Two: Mercury
Vireo (soprano Rowen Sabala) falls into a fit after hearing a voice's (mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin) premonition of plague and is taken by her mother (mezzo soprano Maria Lazarova) to be examined by a Priest. But the Priest (bariton Gregory Purnhagen) only pretends to be a priest; he is a doctor in disguise, coddling his patient in order to study what he calls Vireo's anachronistic delusions. Raphael, the Doctor's callow assistant, is instantly infatuated by Vireo, drawn to what he sees as the glamor of madness.
What's to come...
A runaway Vireo will be caught and brought back to be tested by the Doctor; Raphael’s attentions will grow increasingly amorous and after delivering Vireo to boarding school, Raphael will sing his undying love up to her window.