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Vireo: Q&A with Harpist Bridget Kibbey

Vireo, the groundbreaking made-for-TV opera, is now available for streaming. Watch the 12 full episodes and dive into the world of Vireo through librettos, essays and production notes. Find more bonus content on KCET.org and LinkTV.org.

Harpist Bridget Kibbey joined violinist Vijay Gupta, cellist Joshua Roman, and flutist Lance Suzuki in the ensemble for "Vireo" Episodes 3 and 4, which recently wrapped filming at The Actors' Gang Theatre in Culver City, California. Bridget was kind enough to answer some questions about her experience performing Lisa Bielawa's music and appearing on camera in the episodes.

Q&A with Bridget Kibbey

Vireo: Did you have any experience being filmed as a harpist before being involved in "Vireo"?

Bridget Kibbey: I have had some experience being filmed in my past, but the role the harp has in this opera is a fabulous one – wearing multiple hats in both supporting the vocal cast, while responding to the dramatic emotional state of Vireo during each scene. As a result the harp takes on the persona of a concerned onlooker, a contentious instigator, a saddened narrator.

V: In what ways was recording for a taped opera different than a regular performance or recording session? Was it more or less challenging?

Q&A with Bridget Kibbey

BK: Recording for these live taped opera sessions felt very much like a performance (as we had a live studio audience), but the sense of "sacred space" was heightened by the close proximity of the cameras. It felt like having the audience right up close to the resonance of the harp while observing from a distance at the same time. I found that dichotomy fascinating as it mirrors the "time-jumping" that occurs so often in the plot.

V: What else is coming up for your 2015/16 season?

BK: This season I'm excited to take on a few special dramatic "roles": with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in André Caplet's "Mask of the Red Death" for harp and string quartet on May 13; performing Alberto Ginastera's fierce harp concerto with the Alabama Symphony celebrating the composer's centennial in April 3; opening the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new Breuer Space, with a Stockhausen performance in March; and just next month, I'm performing my own transcription of J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 Live and on the Air for WNYC on October 14th as a winner of a Salon De Virtuosi Grant.

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