“Bold and vivid. This small, adventurous company strives to make opera a visceral, intimate and immediate ‘encounter.’ Their alterations to masterpieces aim to get past dated elements that can mute the raw emotions and the timeless issues coursing within the original works.”
The New York Times
“A categorically imaginative company, [Heartbeat] has made its name with vital reshapings of repertory operas. A radical endeavor — less pint-sized grand opera than an appropriation of the genre for theatre of the black-box type.”
The New Yorker
“Pioneers…reformatting the opera experience from the grand to the deliberately intimate. Ingenious. [A] radical transformational approach to the standard repertoire.”
The Wall Street Journal
“One of the most agile and dynamic companies on New York’s indie opera scene. Every Heartbeat event feels like a happening. Judging by the average audience age and enthusiasm level, the company is succeeding.”
“Urgent, rigorous, and young, Heartbeat Opera poses another beacon of hope against New York City’s gloomy operatic landscape. Heard and Proske are a pair of auteurs to watch for. Their intelligence and warmth saturate the respective works, making for a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the opera house.”
“There is nobody out there on the NYC independent opera scene offering such a complete package at this level. They’ve got the singers. They’ve got the acting chops. They’ve got the directorial vision. Scale and means do not matter when opera gets this intimate and is so perfectly crafted in each and every aspect, it is indeed distilled to its essence.”
Allegri Con Fuoco
Dubbed “singularly unconventional” by Opera News, “a radical endeavor” by Alex Ross in The New Yorker, and “pioneers” by The Wall Street Journal—Heartbeat Opera is a young company intent upon reimagining opera in intimate spaces for a new generation. Employing a minimalism that allows the emotional integrity of the music to shine through, the company’s work focuses on the body of the singer and the visceral power of the music. Co-Artistic Directors Louisa Proske and Ethan Heard, who trained together in the Directing program at the Yale School of Drama, are committed to nurturing the actor in every singer they work with. The company creates productions of classics and new pieces that are daring and visceral, and manifest the emotional grandeur and theatrical power of opera with minimal means. Co-Music Directors Jacob Ashworth and Daniel Schlosberg lead potent chamber ensembles whose playing and bodies become part of the storytelling in Mr Schlosberg’s imaginative re-orchestrations of the score.
In its first three seasons, Heartbeat Opera has presented six fully realized productions: Kurtág’s Kafka-Fragments (“a flatout triumph”—Opera News); a new orchestral arrangement and new English translation of Offenbach’s Daphnis & Chloé (“stellar young cast”—The Wall Street Journal); a new orchestral arrangement and 90 minute adaptation of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (“ingenious”—The Wall Street Journal); Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (“elegant, boisterous and melancholy”—The New Yorker); new orchestral arrangements and 90 minute adaptations of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (“bold and vivid”—The New York Times) and Bizet’s Carmen with new English translation of dialogues (“gripping music theater”—Opera News). Other recent projects include Mozart’s Don Giovanni (“no holds barred”—Opera News), Beethoven’s Fidelio (“powerful and poignant”—The New York Times); the first ever opera show on the High Line (“singularly unconventional”—Opera News); and five fabulous Drag Extravaganzas: Dragus Maximus: a homersexual opera odyssey; All the World’s a Drag! Shakespeare in love…with opera; Queens of the Night: Mozart in Space; Miss Handel; and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen.
Heartbeat Opera’s commitment to outreach led to the launch of “Heartbeat For All” which provides the opportunity for students to attend opera productions for free. They also collaborate with organizations such as A BroaderWay and Atlas DIY: Developing Immigrant Youth to bring opera education to young people from underserved areas in New York City.
From the drama at the core of each work, Heartbeat Opera grows vivid theatrical worlds through revelatory adaptations, radical rearrangements, and ingenious design. Through an inquisitive collaborative process with a diverse community of artists, they break down traditional barriers to reimagine opera for artists and audiences of the twenty-first century.