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Heartbeat Opera Announces 2022-2023 Season With Radical Reimaginings Of 3 Classics

On October 11, 2022 at 7pm, Heartbeat presents its first-ever online screening of the company's wildly successful and powerful adaptation of FIDELIO.

Heartbeat Opera Announces 2022-2023 Season With Radical Reimaginings Of 3 Classics

New York's Heartbeat Opera has announced its ninth season in 2022-23.

First up is a Heartbeat classic for all to see: On October 11, 2022 at 7pm, Heartbeat presents its first-ever online screening of the company's wildly successful and powerful adaptation of FIDELIO, which brings a real-life prison system and Black Lives Matter to light within Beethoven's 1814 masterpiece.

This is a filmed version of the complete opera from Heartbeat's performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last February (listen to the NPR feature). It will air for free on METLiveArts' YouTube page.

Later this spring, Heartbeat returns to Baruch Performing Arts Center with its signature Spring Festival from April 11-23, 2023. The company will premiere radical adaptations of two operatic masterpieces performed in repertory, both beautifully staged, trimmed down, and re-orchestrated: Puccini's TOSCA and Verdi's LADY M. Both shows will feature Daniel Schlosberg's signature orchestrations-the "secret sauce" of so many Heartbeat productions-including explorations into electronics for LADY M and lush reimaginings of Puccini's score for TOSCA. Two fierce female directors will lead the productions: Shadi Ghaheri, who grew up in Tehran, directs TOSCA, setting it under threat of authoritarian censorship; and Emma Jaster directs LADY M, envisioning the story of Macbeth through the eyes of Lady Macbeth (the germination of a project Heartbeat began in 2020).

In Heartbeat's TOSCA, Puccini's iconic story of love and revolution becomes daringly real when a troop of singers decide to risk all to perform the uncensored version of Tosca - in which corrupt officials are murdered, revolutionaries are executed, and, most importantly, a female heroine interrupts the cycle of violence. They race to tell their whole story before the authoritarian forces lurking in the wings press in.

LADY M is the live culmination of Heartbeat's "riveting" (Opera News) early pandemic venture, Lady M: An Online Fantasia, for which Heartbeat sold out 32 online soirees. Jaster, who has been Heartbeat's Movement Director on countless projects, including Lady M online, takes the reins to direct Ethan Heard and Jacob Ashworth's co-adaptation, conjuring a bracingly contemporary couple as the Macbeths, along with a complete sonic and dramatic reimagining of the three witches.

Heartbeat's Spring Festival

April 11-23, 2023
Baruch Performing Arts Center


April 11, 13, 15, 21 at 7:30pm
April 16 at 8pm
April 19 at 8:30pm
April 23 at 3pm A new 90 minute adaptation, sung in Italian
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa
Co-Adapted by Shadi Ghaheri and Jacob Ashworth
Directed by Shadi Ghaheri
Music Directed by Jacob Ashworth
Newly Arranged by Daniel Schlosberg Full cast TBA Heartbeat's new production of TOSCA translates Puccini's masterpiece of love and revolution from Rome's 1800 police state to the modern-day world of religious authoritarian regimes. This brand new co-adaptation by Iranian-American director Shadi Ghaheri and Heartbeat Interim Artistic Director Jacob Ashworth focuses on a troop of singer activists who have clandestinely decided that tonight they will risk everything to perform the uncensored TOSCA. Throughout the opera the audience becomes aware of authoritarian forces at work just beyond the edges of the stage. This radical adaptation asks what it means to make art where freedom of expression does not exist - where even love is banned from the stage.


April 12, 14, 18, 20, and 22 at 7:30pm
April 16 at 3pm A new 90 minute adaptation of Verdi's Macbeth, sung in Italian,
that tells the story of opera's most thrilling anti-heroine

Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Original libretto written by Francesco Maria Piave, with additions by Andrea Maffei, based on William Shakespeare's play
Based on concepts developed in Heartbeat's Lady M: An Online Fantasia in 2020
Co-Adapted by Ethan Heard and Jacob Ashworth
Directed by Emma Jaster
Arranged and Music Directed by Daniel Schlosberg
Full cast TBA

This is not the life Lady M imagined for herself. It all looks perfect on Instagram, but she craves the real thing - real passion, real power, real pleasures - and she can't sleep until she gets it.

In this version of Verdi's Scottish opera Macbeth, women drive the story, and magic takes many forms: mystical, technological, and psychological. Power and ambition become tangled with gender, race and class as they manifest in our contemporary American lives. Longtime Heartbeat artist Emma Jaster directs Ethan Heard and Jacob Ashworth's co-adaptation, featuring six singers and six players in a new electronics-infused orchestration, with a trio of virtuosic female soloists as the witches, stirring the drama throughout with bold sound design and experimentation. Jaster will strip away the clichés that have accumulated around Lady Macbeth and her story.

LADY M arrives on stage for the first time following a critically-acclaimed run of virtual soirées in 2020 that reached over 1,000 individuals spanning 5 continents. The Washington Post noted that these virtual performances "[hacked] the corporate contours of Zoom into a postmodern proscenium." Operawire wrote: "Heartbeat's 'Lady M' Virtual Soirées will be remembered as groundbreaking." New York Magazine's discerning "Approval Matrix" dubbed LADY M "High brow and brilliant."


Free Video Premiere

In Partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Met Live Arts
October 11, 2022 at 7:00pm online via METLiveArts' YouTube page. Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Original libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner & Georg Friedrich Sonnleithner
Adapted & Directed by Ethan Heard
Arranged & Music Directed by Daniel Schlosberg
New English Dialogue Co-Written by Marcus Scott & Ethan Heard
Featuring Derrell Acon (Roc), Curtis Bannister (Stan), Kelly Griffin (Leah), Victoria Lawal (Marcy), Corey McKern (Pizarro)

and more than 100 incarcerated singers in six prison choirs
100 minutes

Last season, Heartbeat remounted its heartwrenching FIDELIO at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's METLiveArts series before taking it on the company's first and highly successful national tour, with performances at the Broad Stage, The Mondavi Center, and Scottsdale Performing Arts Center. The full film of their performance at the Met Museum will premiere free online this fall so that audiences around the world can experience this production. The story of Heartbeat's FIDELIO is more urgent and timely than ever:

A Black activist is wrongfully incarcerated. His wife, Leah, disguises herself to infiltrate the system and free him. But when injustice reigns, one woman's grit may not be enough to save her love. Featuring the voices of imprisoned people, this daring adaptation pits corruption against courage, hate against hope.

Heartbeat Opera was founded in 2014 to create incisive adaptations and revelatory arrangements of classics, reimagining them for the here and now. Since then Heartbeat "has already contributed more to opera's vitality than most major American companies" (New York Times), and has established itself as a highly-respected, innovative force in the opera world. The company was founded by Ethan Heard and Louisa Proske, classmates at Yale School of Drama's directing program, followed quickly by Jacob Ashworth and Daniel Schlosberg from Yale's School of Music, who joined as Co-Music Directors from the first season. Today, Jacob, as Interim Artistic Director, and Dan, as Music Director, along with newly appointed Executive Director Tim Hausmann, are continuing Heartbeat's legacy of radical adaptations of classic opera and leading the company into its next bold chapter.

In its first eight seasons, Heartbeat presented thirteen fully-realized productions, often featuring new chamber arrangements and English translations. Heartbeat adaptations, which can be seen as world premieres of classics, speak to the current moment: Fidelio featured a primarily Black cast and more than 100 incarcerated singers from six prison choirs; Carmen was set on the U.S./Mexico border and featured accordion, electric guitar, and saxophone; Butterfly (based on Madama Butterfly) looked at the story through the eyes of the biracial son, exploding the stereotype of a submissive Asian woman; Der Freischütz explored the dangers of toxic masculinity and gun culture. During the pandemic, Heartbeat took Lady M, its adaptation of Verdi's Macbeth, online and sold out 32 Virtual Soirées, reaching 740 households across 5 continents; it also created Breathing Free, a visual album, which screened at venues across the country and was nominated for the 2021 Drama League Award for Outstanding Digital Concert Production. In the last year, Heartbeat remounted its acclaimed Fidelio at the Met Museum and then launched a highly successful first ever tour to the west coast. Heartbeat has shared its work at the Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Broad Stage, The Mondavi Center, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and Chamber Music Northwest. It staged the first ever opera performance on The High Line and has mounted its immensely popular, annual, interdisciplinary Drag Extravaganza in iconic venues such as National Sawdust and Roulette nearly every year since its founding.

Heartbeat has collaborated with organizations such as Atlas DIY and A BroaderWay to bring opera education to young people in NYC. It is represented by the world-class artist agency Opus 3 Artists.

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