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Heartbeat Opera Announces Company Changes, Including Derrell Acon As Associate Artistic Director

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Acon will also serve part-time on the West Coast at Long Beach Opera as their Associate Artistic Director and Chief Impact Officer.

Heartbeat Opera Announces Company Changes, Including Derrell Acon As Associate Artistic Director

Heartbeat Opera has announced that starting July 1, 2021, bass-baritone Derrell Acon will become the company's first Associate Artistic Director. Acon will also serve part-time on the West Coast at Long Beach Opera as their Associate Artistic Director and Chief Impact Officer.

Heartbeat audiences know Acon from his astonishing performances as Rocco in Fidelio, Kaspar in Der Freischütz, and a singer in Breathing Free. In addition to his illustrious career as a performer, Acon has established himself as a respected and sought-after thought-leader and Blacktivist in the opera industry.

On top of joining the core Heartbeat Opera leadership team, Acon will serve as Creative Producer on the company's fall 2021 project «Quando il Glück monta i Verdi», an opera short film and live performance featuring excerpts from Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck, and La Traviata and Don Carlo by Giuseppe Verdi, with compositional and narrative disruption by living artists. This is the pilot production for NO EVIL projects, a multi-project series of operatic and filmic content that interrogates the dictum: "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." The film is being created as a co-production with another opera company (details to be announced soon).

Heartbeat Co-Founder Louisa Proske, who was Co-Artistic Director for its first seven seasons, will become the Associate Artistic Director of Oper Halle in Germany. She will remain on Heartbeat's board of directors, maintain ongoing close communication with Heartbeat leadership, and return to direct individual Heartbeat productions, including the upcoming world premiere of The Extinctionist. Her new role at Heartbeat will be Co-Founder & Resident Director.

Ethan Heard, who co-founded Heartbeat and served as Co-Artistic Director alongside Proske from 2014-2021, will now become Heartbeat's sole Artistic Director. Co-Music Directors Jacob Ashworth and Daniel Schlosberg, and Managing Director Annie Middleton remain in their positions.


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