Virtual Opera: DESERT IN (Boston Lyric Opera)

Post image for Virtual Opera: DESERT IN (Boston Lyric Opera)

by Connor McCormick on May 22, 2021

in Music,Theater-Regional


Lost souls are found, love is rekindled, and secrets are exposed at a mysterious motor lodge in the American West. There’s an extraordinarily impressive team behind Boston Lyric Opera’s new operatic miniseries desert in, which premieres June 3, 2021 on streaming service.

Anthony Michael Lopez (as Federico)

Co-created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid, playwright and screenwriter christopher oscar peña, and film and opera director James Darrah (The Fall of the House of Usher), this groundbreaking, eight-part series is full of colorful and mysterious characters who populate a supernatural story of love, loss, and the price of memories we struggle to keep.

Isabel Leonard (as Cass)

Told in eight episodes ranging from 10 to 20 minutes each, the story revolves around two couples: Cass and Sunny, the innkeepers at a remote motor lodge called the Desert Inn, who are celebrating a milestone anniversary; and new guests Ion and Rufus, who are celebrating their honeymoon. Cass and Ion harbor secrets from their lovers, and money exchanges hands to ensure everyone’s happiness.

Talise Trevigne (as Sunny)

At the heart of the Desert Inn  — produced in association with Long Beach Opera — is the shimmering, oasis-like pool, where parties take place, furtive liaisons happen, and mounting tensions have unnatural effects on the water.  Among the other colorful characters who stay or work at the Inn are a witchy Lounge Singer, a mysterious handyman named Federico with secret passions of his own, and an Old Man who yearns to reconnect to his past.

Raviv Ullman (playing Ion)

Unexpected romances, shamanic rituals, and a roiling spiritual world surround the motor lodge.  As the Inn’s money-for-memories scheme starts to unravel, friends and lovers become enemies, details become fuzzy, and guests check out in surprising ways. Fiery passions bring the story to an explosive end.

Justin Vivian Bond (The Lounge Singer)

photos by Michael Elias Thomas


Ep. 1: “This House is Now”
Ep. 2: “Love is Like the Sea”
Ep. 3 : “Someday you’ll know…they’re calling to you too”
Ep. 4: “A Single Man”
Ep. 5: “I miss you more than I remember you”
Ep. 6: “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”
Ep. 7: “The Sun Also Rises”
Ep. 8: “Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us”


  • Michael Abels (Get Out)
  • Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer
  • Haitian-American composer, flutist and vocalist Nathalie Joachim
  • Nico Muhly (who has written more than 100 works)
  • Irish composer and vocalist Emma O’Halloran
  • Ellen Reid (2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music p r i s m)
  • Wang Lu (Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer at the Chicago Opera Theatre)
  • Composer and performer Shelley Washington


  • Isabel Leonard (the three-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano)
  • Talise Trevigne (the Grammy-nominated soprano)
  • Justin Vivian Bond (Tony Award-nominated actor/singer)
  • Raviv Ullman (The Accidental Wolf w/Kelli O’Hara and Judith Ivey)
  • Alexander Flores (from The Maze Runner film series)
  • Anthony Michael Lopez (Mapplethorpe)
  • Ricco Ross (the Starz series P-Valley)
  • Jon Orsini (The Assistant with Julia Garner)
  • Carlis Shane Clark  (the film Dutch with Jeremy Meeks)


  • Baritone and 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup winner Edward Nelson
  • Tony Award-winning tenor Jesus Garcia
  • Renowned tenor Alan Pingarrón
  • Bass-baritone and 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award Davóne Tines
  • Soprano Brianna J. Robinson, mezzo-soprano Emma Sorenson, and tenor Neal Ferreira

WRITERS/LIBRETTISTS (along with peña and Joy Kecken (writer/director for HBO’s The Wire)

  • Obie Award-winning “Milk Like Sugar” playwright Kirsten Greenidge;
  • Hi, Are You Single? playwright and actor Ryan J. Haddad;
  • Amputees playwright Quentin Nguyen-duy;
  • Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them playwright A. Rey Pamatmat;
  • Sundance Playwright Fellow and librettist Roxie Perkins; and
  • Composer and playwright Jesse J. Sanchez, SUEÑOS.


  • James Darrah (Long Beach Opera Artistic Director)
  • Zackary Drucker (director, The Lady and and the Dale on HBO Max
  • Joy Kecken (writer/director for HBO’s The Wire)
  • Raviv Ullman (director, Standing Ground documentary film).


  • David Angus (Music Director)
  • Annie Rabbat, violin and Concertmaster
  • Leowi Lin, cello
  • Jan Halloran, clarinet/bass clarinet
  • Linda Toote, flute/alto flute
  • Richard Flanagan, percussion
  • Craig McNutt, percussion;
  • Brett Hodgdon, keyboard player/operator.


  • Director of Photography Michael Elias Thomas
  • Production Designer is Yuki Izumihara.
  • Costume Designer is Molly Irelan.
  • Lighting Designer is Pablo Santiago.

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