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GCAC Residency Project “Vireo” Releases May 31st on KCET

Artist Residency Project of CSUF Grand Central Art Center (GCAC)
VIREO: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser”  
To Be Released by KCET

VIREO is a Made-for-TV Opera, Composed and Conceived by  
 GCAC Artist-in-Residence Lisa Bielawa on a Libretto by Erik Ehn and Directed by Charles Otte

Broadcast World Premiere June 13 On KCET and LinkTV

In a First for the Network, All Twelve Episodes Will Become  
Available for Binge-Watching May 31 at and

(Images top to bottom: Soprano Debora Voigt, Rowen Sabala as the title
character, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin,  and composer Lisa Bielawa
conducts Kronos Quartet)

BURBANK, Calif. – May 10, 2017 – “VIREO: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser” is an Artist Residency  Project of Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, a unit of Cal State Fullerton’s College of the Arts shepherded by Director  and Chief Curator John Spiak. The new, made-for-TV-and-online opera conceived and composed by Lisa Bielawa on a  libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, is unprecedented in that it is being created expressly for release online  and on TV. The unique multimedia initiative includes online articles and videos showcasing various facets of the production.  VIREO  is the winner of the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award and was recently  awarded a prestigious MAP Fund Grant for 2016 through Grand Central Art Center.

Bielawa says of Spiak’s involvement, “John Spiak is a visionary collaborator, and his inspired custodianship of VIREO  from a  crazy idea between just the two of us to a full-blown, epic innovative endeavor at the highest production level would not have  been possible without him and the whole team at CSUF  Grand Central Art Center. GCAC is where artists can dream and create outside  the box.”

KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent non-profit public broadcast and digital network, announced that  VIREO will make its world broadcast television premiere on Tues., June 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on both KCET in Southern  California and Link TV (DirecTV375 and Dish Network 9410) nationwide. Produced in partnership with Cal State Fullerton’s  Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), the two-and-a-half-hour broadcast will be a special edition of KCETLink’s  Emmy ®  award-winning arts and culture series ARTBOUND. In a first for the network, KCETLink will release all 12 of the approximately  15-minute episodes of VIREO  at once for free, on-demand streaming starting Weds., May 31 at,,  and  on Apple TV and Roku.

The eponymous heroine Vireo, played by soprano Rowen Sabala, is a fourteen-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  own 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, all the way 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, cellist Joshua  Roman,  mezzo-sopranos  Laurie Rubin, Maria Lazarova and Kirsten Sollek, baritone  Gregory Purnhagen, tenor Ryan Glover, drummer  Matthias Bossi, soprano Emma MacKenzie and in the title role of  Vireo, teenage soprano Rowen Sabala.

Additionally, the opera features the talents of notable groups and organizations 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 many, many more.

For a complete list of VIREO performers, see:  

VIREO was shot from New York’s Hudson River Valley to California’s redwood forests. Production began in February of 2015  in the Los Angeles area at Santa Ana’s Yost Theatre and proceeded to shoot through January of 2017 in iconic locations around the  country, including the 16th Street Oakland Train Station and San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island.

A comprehensive VIREO online content hub is available at, providing viewers of VIREO an immersive second screen  experience. Featuring interviews with cast and crew, behind-the-scenes content and exclusive insights into the themes of the production,  the online hub and social media video content is also available on the @KCET28 and @LinkTV Facebook page.

Upcoming screening events will be held across the country over the summer months and are open to the public. The current list of  screenings includes the following (*subject to change):

Weds., June 21 from 6-10 p.m.  Day of Music at the Plummer Auditorium  / 201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832  (free to the public)

Sun., June 25 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.  Arts nonprofit  Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture  (FMCAC)  Cowell Theater / 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94123 (ticketed event)

Fri., July 7 at 7 p.m.  National Sawdust  Screening of all 12 episodes / 80 N. 6th  St., Brooklyn, NY 11249 (ticketed event)

To learn more, please visit or or on social media use #OperaVireo


Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), a unit of California State University at Fullerton College of the Arts, is dedicated to the investigation  and promotion of contemporary art and visual culture: regionally, nationally, and internationally through unique collaborations among artists,  students, and the community. GCAC is the result of a unique partnership between the California State University at Fullerton and the City  of Santa Ana. Located ten miles south of the main campus in the heart of downtown Santa Ana, the art center is a mixed residential, commercial  and educational complex. The art center is a 45,000 square-foot, full city-block long and half-city block deep, three-level structure that houses:  live/studio spaces for visual arts graduate students, the Grand Central Main Gallery, Project Room, Education/Teaching Gallery, and  artist-in-residence program. To learn more about the GCAc artist-in-residence program, please  


KCETLink Media Group, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast  network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative  ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and  social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3)  organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV – DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel  9410  – and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional  information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please  visit or Select programming from KCET and Link TV is also available for streaming on Hulu, Apple TV, and Roku platforms.