Musical audio drama by Byzantine Choral Project “Icons /Idols: Irene”
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 09:49 am EDT 09/20/21


New York, NY – The Byzantine Choral Project proudly presents ICONS/IDOLS: IRENE, a twelve-episode musical audio drama written by Helen Banner and composed by Grace Oberhofer.

The Byzantine Choral Project (BCP) is a dynamic collaboration between playwright Helen Banner and composer Grace Oberhofer to make theater for women and nonbinary voices. Inspired by the Byzantine Empresses Irene, Maria and Euphrosyne, they are creating work that showcases the radical power of strong, diverse performers singing together and explores the importance of imagery, representation and iconoclasm in classical and contemporary life.

Based on historical records, ICONS/IDOLS: IRENE is the fascinating story of a child bride from provincial Athens who ascends to the heart of Byzantine power. Harboring a treasonous secret that marks her as the enemy of her husband and son, the young Empress Irene must choose her side in the iconoclastic wars. With a haunting score inspired by Byzantine Chant, and featuring the voices of ten women and non-binary performers, ICONS/IDOLS: IRENE is a sweeping story of ambition, sacrifice, and the struggle to make something new out of a shattered world.

ICONS/IDOLS: IRENE is comprised of 12 episodes, 5 - 25 minutes each in length, with a total run time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. The first two episodes will be released on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, then released weekly on Wednesdays at 5am ET over nine weeks, with the final episode on November 17.

Listen to ICONS/IDOLS: IRENE for free on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music and YouTube. For more streaming options visit https://byzantinechoralproject.com/podcast or search for Icons/Idols: Irene by The Byzantine Choral Project on your preferred podcast app.

Featuring Hilary Asare, Iris Beaumier, Isabella Dawis, Hannah Eakin, Julia Izumi, Grace Oberhofer, Lukas Papenfusscline, Shanta Parasuraman, Yael Shavitt and Kay Weber.

Music Direction by Robert Frost, Audio Engineering by Nathan Leigh, Sound Design by Grace Oberhofer and Nathan Leigh, Featured Foley Artist is Nicole Orabona, Produced by Emily Caffery, Cultural and Sensitivity Consultants are Jonathan Alexandratos, Pelin Iscan, Berhan Koral and Tony Zosherafatain.

For the past five years, Byzantine Choral Project has been developing ICONS/IDOLS, a tetralogy of choral plays uncovering the secret history of these purple empresses as they ascend in a society with deep animosity towards female rule. In response to the theater shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, BCP adapted and recorded play one of the tetralogy, IRENE, as a serial audio drama. Excerpts of this recording were presented as an immersive sound installation, IN THE PURPLE ROOM, which premiered at New Ohio Theatre in New York City in May 2021.

Broadway World called IN THE PURPLE ROOM “Gripping, emotional and eerily beautiful.” “Grace Oberhofer has composed a truly fantastic acapella score. It has a gorgeous ability to evoke the sacred and the spooky all at once,” said No Proscenium. “It calls to mind the haunting compositions of the late Elizabeth Swados,” raved Interludes.

For more info about Byzantine Choral Project visit http://byzantinechoralproject.com. Like BCP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/byzantinechoral, follow on Twitter at @byzie_empress (https://twitter.com/byzie_empress) and on Instagram at @byzantinechoralproject (https://www.instagram.com/byzantinechoralproject). See what everyone's talking about at #IconsIdols and #IrenePodcast.

Helen Banner is a playwright and librettist as well as a former adjunct professor at Birkbeck College, University of London teaching the religious, political and social history of Late Antiquity. A former member of the JAM at New Georges and the Ingram New Works Lab at Nashville Rep, their work has been shown at NYTW (Next Door), the Drama League, OPERA America and The Tank among other venues. Their play Intelligence will be presented at The Assembly, Roxy Upstairs at next year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival by Lucy Jackson Productions and Dutch Kills Theater Company. https://helenbanner.com

Grace Oberhofer is an award-winning composer with a focus on non-traditional music theater. A Tacoma, WA native and Tufts graduate, Grace also works as a performer, sound designer, and educator. An alumna of the BMI Workshop, her work has been developed/presented by OPERA America, The Tank, New Georges, Corkscrew Festival, Seattle Rep, and Central Square, among others. Other compositional projects include Hot Cross Buns and A Doll's House: A New Opera. http://graceoberhofer.com
Link https://byzantinechoralproject.com/podcast

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