Drake University

They filmed the opera 'Vireo' on Alcatraz. Soon you can stream it on your iPad or phone

They filmed the opera 'Vireo' on Alcatraz. Soon you can stream it on your iPad or phone

In composer Lisa Bielawa’s world, cows sing, a ponytailed man plays the hurdy-gurdy in the backseat of a vintage Chrysler Valiant and an escape from Alcatraz is as simple as tossing a knotted sheet rope out a prison cell window and driving off into the night — to Sweden.

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...

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