Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, April – July, 2016

Single Cel LLC, Los Angeles

What we did: Planning | Production

As Bay Area Producer, Marnie Burke de Guzman facilitated the planning and production for Episode 9 of the new media opera, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuserwhich entailed a shift of operations from Los Angeles to the Bay Area for filming on Alcatraz.

Vireo is an unprecedented new opera considering the nature and usage of “female hysteria” throughout the centuries. Composed by Lisa Bielawa on a libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, Vireo is the first made-for-TV-and-internet opera created expressly for the episodic series medium, and filmed in front of live audiences.

Through a partnership with KCETLink, the national independent, non-profit digital and broadcast network, the entire production of Vireo was released in the Spring of 2017 for free, on-demand streaming. This unique multimedia initiative includes online articles and videos showcasing the production’s creative process, as well as a television special presented by Artbound, KCETLink’s Emmy award-winning arts and culture series.

Vireo received the prestigious ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for Excellence in Music and Multimedia following the release of the first two episodes in 2015. The opera also received the largest allocation possible in the 2016 class of MAP funding from Creative Capital for its inventive composition and narrative, as well as its episodic series medium. In June of 2018, composer Lisa Bielawa and Director Charles Otte were nominated for the 70th Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards in the categories of Creative Technical Crafts – Composer and Outstanding Director – Programming.

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Image Credits

Top: Rowen Sabala performing in Yost Theater, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, 2015 (production image, Episode 1); photo: Remsen Allard, courtesy of KCET
Middle: Filming Rowen Sabala on on her journey to Alcatraz Island, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, 2016 (production image, Episode 9), photo: David Soderlund
Bottom Left: Lisa Bielawa and Capella SF in cellhouse, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, 2016 (production image, Episode 9), photo: David Soderlund, courtesy of KQED
Bottom Right: ACME String Quartet, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, 2016 (production image, Episode 9), photo: David Soderlund, courtesy of KQED