Now entering its third season, founded by four graduates of the Yale School of Drama and Yale School of Music, Heartbeat Opera transforms great works of the operatic canon through visionary adaptations, radical arrangements for chamber ensembles, and intimate, visceral productions that put the singers and the instrumentalists at the center of the work. Heartbeat distills opera to its essence, and cultivates new audiences for the artform.
Real Prisoners' Voices Make Heartbeat Opera's "Fidelio" Resonate
Video projections reinforce the inmates' commitment to music and text, their chins raised, brows gently furrowed, and lips outstretched to form German vowels. The singing is emotionally wrenching in its delicate roughness.Read More
Heartbeat's Giovanni successfully bucks tradition
From the overture's opening measures, the band produced genuine chamber music. Gleb Kanasevich, whose playing I've admired since his conservatory days, had increased responsibility as the lone wind. Schlosberg's orchestration demands fast arpeggiated chords, virtuosic melodies, and character-driven phrases to compensate for the missing winds and brass.Read More
Fidelio: still political in 2018
"I hope people who know Fidelio already will be surprised and challenged to experience the opera in a new way. I hope newcomers to Fidelio will come away with admiration for Beethoven's beautiful music and appreciation of this story's powerful resonance today. I hope all audience members will take away questions and concerns that they continue to talk about and wrestle with."Read More
Don Giovanni: "strengthened by reinterpretation."
"These classic opera scores, like any art form, are never static, and I believe they are strengthened by reinterpretation. We've all become used to hearing them in a certain way over the years, with the same orchestration, to the point that they have become museum pieces. My intention is to breathe new life into the scores, and I hope that audiences are able to gain a fresh perspective on the music as a result."Read More
Talking with singers: Nelson Ebo
"My desire for singing was within me when I was born. My father loved to sing and when I was a child I was always the loudest one (out of the 16 of us). I sang in my church choir and found a way to formalize my love of singing. When I was a bit older, I was given a cassette tape of the Three Tenors and started imitating them."Read More
"A truly otherworldly space": Heartbeat Opera's Drag Extravaganza
"Opera has been a home for drag for centuries! Think: pants roles like Cherubino. Moreover, opera is about big emotion expressed in grand, often over-the-top ways. The Queen of the Night's famous aria from The Magic Flute embodies rage and power with delightful virtuosity. Drag performers channel big emotions in grand ways too. Plus, opera and drag both demand fabulous costumes and wigs!"Read More
Talking with singers: Karolina Pilou
"The idea that one person doing the casting can assess what the thousands of people from different cultures and walks of life in a diverse audience will find attractive or not, is still a puzzle to me. We tell the most fascinating and outrageous stories to audiences, but don't give them enough credit that they can believe a short and overweight tenor or a plus size soprano can be the object of desire in many given opera productions."Read More