The musical drama is based on the original Norse sagas and will be released in early 2024.

It tells the story of the Norse women Freydis, the daughter of the famous Norse explorer Erik the Red, and Gudrid, who travel to North America. 

As IMDB puts it: “Vikings reach the new world, but their efforts to stay are ill-fated. Back home, secrets are exposed, and two women have a reckoning.” 

The work of Jeffrey Leiser

It is both written and directed by the American director, producer, composer, and writer/editor Jeffrey Leiser. 

Leiser has a number of achievements behind him. Amongst these is the release of 12 albums of original music and scores. He has also won a gold medal, which is the highest score, at the Park City Film Music Festival. 

Furthermore, his works have been featured on the radio and received several positive reviews. 

The musical drama tells the story of Norse women who travel to North America. Illustration: The Viking Herald

According to Leiser himself, his love for Icelandic sagas began when he first read the Penguin compilation almost twenty years ago. Having visited Iceland himself after a personal loss, he said he found that the country offered some sense of relief. 

With the sagas he had read in mind for more than ten years, he began working on an operatic adaptation of the story for Freydis and Gudrid in 2017. 

Within eight months, a complete draft had been both written and composed. However, the project had to be put on hold following what was a tough period for Leiser. 

Adaptation process

Nevertheless, after recovering, Leiser, alongside Andrés Soto, finalized a draft fit for live recording in 2020. The process of adapting it to film took them nine months, while the actual filming and recording of Freydis and Gudrid took only a week. 

The musical drama stars Micaëla Oeste and Kirsten Chambers. It was filmed in Brooklyn, New York City, and is under the production company Set Theory Productions, working alongside Albino Fawn Productions.

The musical drama has been developed with the help of three cultural grants and a lab residency at the Guild Hall of East Hampton. 

Furthermore, when recording the singing and orchestral score, it was done with a cast of ten and a 16-piece chamber ensemble. 

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