Oberlin College and Conservatory

TV Opera Screening and Q&A with Composer Lisa Bielawa

Friday, January 17, 2020 at 7:00pm to 11:59pm

’Sco (Dionysus Club), Wilder Hall
135 West Lorain Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Join us in the ’Sco for a screening of the made-for-TV-and-online opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser, followed by a Q&A with composer Lisa Bielawa.

Watch the Vireo trailer.

Award-winning composer Lisa Bielawa's groundbreaking opera, Vireo, is the winner of the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award and was nominated for the 2018 Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards.

The eponymous heroine Vireo, played by soprano Rowen Sabala, is a 14-year-old girl genius entangled in the historic obsession with female visionaries, as witch-hunters, early psychiatrists, and modern artists have defined them. Based on Bielawa’s research at Yale, then freely adapted and re-imagined by librettist Ehn, Vireo 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, to 19th century France and contemporary performance art, Vireo provides a thoughtful, sometimes-humorous look at the universal issues of gender identity, perception, and reality.

Vireo features the work of over 350 musicians including opera star Deborah Voigt, violinist Jennifer Koh '97, cellist Joshua Roman, mezzo-sopranos Laurie Rubin '01, Maria Lazarova and Kirsten Sollek, baritone Gregory Purnhagen, tenor Ryan Glover, drummer Matthias Bossi, soprano Emma MacKenzie and teenage soprano Rowen Sabala in the title role of Vireo,

Additionally, the opera features the talents of notable groups from around the country including Kronos Quartet, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Magik*Magik Orchestra, American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, PARTCH, the Orange County School of the Arts Middle School Choir, and others.


Event Type

Films & Screenings


Administrative, Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, Winter Term

Photo Alternate Text

still image from opera trailer showing costumed singers

Contact Person

Sean Lehlbach

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