February’s New York Monthly Meeting’s Spotlight featured Ethan Heard (YC ’07, YSD ’13, Faculty), Founding Co-Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera. Dubbed “singularly unconventional” by Opera News—Heartbeat Opera is a six-year-old company intent upon reimagining opera in intimate spaces for a new generation. Employing 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. Co-Music Directors Jacob Ashworth and Daniel Schlosberg, both Yale School of Music alumni, are committed to bringing operatic music to life in fresh ways, often through new chamber instrumentations.
Recent projects include Weber’s Der Freischütz (“a bold production”—The Financial Times); Stradella’s La Susanna (“fascinating and gorgeous”—The Observer); Mozart’s Don Giovanni (“no holds barred”—Opera News); and Beethoven’s Fidelio (“powerful and poignant”—The New York Times), which featured more than 100 incarcerated singers from six prison choirs in a music video of the Prisoners’ Chorus, “O welche lust”. Learn more about this extraordinary collaboration in this New York Times article and this video.
Heartbeat believes in making opera fresh, sexy, and accessible. Each fall, Heartbeat presents a Halloween Opera Drag Extravaganza. In 2019, HOT MAMA: Singing Gays Saving Gaia celebrated Mother Earth, in all her fabulous biodiversity, and raised money for Earth Justice. See a highlight reel here.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Heartbeat refuses to go into hibernation, and has boldly taken its opera-making online, producing this uplifting music video of Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow” and transforming Lady M, its adaptation of Verdi’s Macbeth, into an “online fantasia.” Virtual Soirées on Zoom are currently scheduled May 11-20, 2020 and may be expanded due to high demand. See an ALL ARTS interview with Ethan describing Lady M here.
Please visit heartbeatopera.org to join Heartbeat’s mailing list and learn about ways to help forge the future of opera.