Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Original libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner and Georg Friedrich Sonnleithner
Adapted and Directed by Ethan Heard
Arranged and Music Directed by Daniel Schlosberg
New English Dialogue Co-Written by Marcus Scott and Ethan Heard

A black activist is wrongfully incarcerated. His wife, Leah, passes as a man 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.


Thu, May 3 – 8:00pm

Sat, May 5 – 8:00pm

Sun, May 6 – 7:30pm (Gala Double Bill)

Wed, May 9 – 8:00pm

Fri, May 11 – 8:00pm

Sun, May 13 – 3:00pm

Baruch Performing Arts Center
55 Lexington Avenue, NYC



Rocco // Derrell Acon
Marzelline // Malorie Casimir
Florestan // Nelson Ebo
Leonore // Kelly Griffin
Pizarro // Daniel Klein


Stage Direction // Ethan Heard
Music Direction // Daniel Schlosberg
Movement Direction // Emma Crane Jaster
Set Design // Reid Thompson
Costume Design // Valérie Therese Bart
Hair & Makeup // Jon Carter
Stage Manager // Jakob Plummer
Sound Design // Ian Williams
Projections Design // Nick Hussong


press from Last year's festival


"This small, adventurous company strives to make opera a visceral, intimate and immediate 'encounter,' as they have said. 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."

– Anthony Tommasini, ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Carmen,’ in Bold and Vivid Cuts (The New York Times



Carmen was "gripping as music theater ... Louisa Proske set out to examine and challenge the all-too-timely oppositions structured around borders of all types. ... an anti-touristic Carmen."

Opera News, In Review: Madama Butterfly (5/20/17), Carmen (5/25/17)



"[W]hat’s so pleasing about Heartbeat Opera’s “Butterfly” is how well its artistic intentions dovetail with its limited means."

– Russell Platt, The Trailblazing Efforts of “Indie Opera” (The New Yorker)


experience the spring Festival

DON GIOVANNI // May 2–12, 2018
Anarchy! Revolution! Desire! Set to the most sublime music ever written, Mozart’s masterpiece finds complex resonance in our cultural climate.
Learn More ›

FIDELIO // May 3-13, 2018
Featuring the voices of imprisoned people, this daring adaptation of Beethoven's opera pits corruption against courage, hate against hope.
Learn more ›

GALA: DOUBLE BILL // May 6, 2018
Don't miss this unique opportunity to see two monumental works on the same day. Experience DON GIOVANNI and FIDELIO, and enjoy an exclusive dinner with the Heartbeat Opera family between performances.


Meet the Team

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Stage Director

Ethan Heard directs plays, musicals, and operas. As Founding Co-Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera, he has directed Dido and Aeneas, Kafka-Fragments, The Seven Deadly Sins, and the drag extravaganzas Miss Handel and The Fairy Queen. Other recent opera includes the world premieres of Orth and Campbell’s Empty the House (Curtis Institute of Music) and Cady, Siegel and Welch’s Sisyphus (Experiments in Opera); Erismena and L’Orfeo (Yale Baroque Opera Project), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Princeton University). Recent musical theater includes Little Shop of Horrors, Bells Are Ringing, and A Little Night Music (Berkshire Theatre Group), the world premiere of Campbell and Michelson’s The Other Room (Inner Voices), Michelson's Song of Song of Songs (Judson), Merrily We Roll Along (Yale Dramat), Sunday in the Park with George (Yale School of Drama), and Mel Brooks’ The Producers (Princeton). Plays include: Lottie in the Late Afternoon and Julius Caesar (YSD), The Cat and the Canary (BTG), The Gay Ivy (Dixon Place), Iphigenia and Other Daughters and Proof (Santa Fe Theater Festival), Pullman WA and in a word (Williamstown Workshop). While earning his MFA at YSD, Ethan served as Artistic Director of Yale Cabaret, where he co-created Basement Hades and Trannequin and began the tradition of Yale School of Drag. He is Resident Director of Jay Chou's The Secret, China's first jukebox musical, and he is currently on faculty at Yale School of Drama, Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and Princeton University.

Jacob Ashworth - Heartbeat Opera


Music Director & New Arrangement

The music of composer and pianist Daniel Schlosberg has been performed by the the Dover Quartet, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Amphion Quartet, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Antico Moderno, and Lorelei Ensemble, at such venues as Carnegie Hall (New York), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), St. John’s Cathedral (Hong Kong), and Melbourne Recital Centre (Melbourne). Recent work includes the score for a music-theatrical adaptation of Lorca’s Once Five Years Pass at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and music direction of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Yale Repertory Theatre, where he premiered a score by David Lang. He cofounded the composer/performer ensemble INVISIBLE ANATOMY, which debuted last spring with concerts in New York City and at the Beijing Modern Music Festival. Schlosberg received a 2014 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and 2014 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s from the Yale School of Music. His work has been described as “witty” by the Wall Street Journal.


Derrell Acon


Bass-baritone Derrell Acon is a uniquely accomplished performer whose repertoire ranges from the comic to the tragic and even the sensual. In 2017, Mr. Acon performed the roles of Jake and Jim in NY Harlem Productions' tour of Porgy and Bess, making his debuts at Semperoper Dresden, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Deutsches Theater München, Kölner Philharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Haifa Congress Center, Tel-Aviv Charles Bronfman Hall, and Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari. In 2018, he debuts as Escamillo in Opera Ithaca's Carmen and as Rocco in Heartbeat Opera's Fidelio.


Malorie Casimir


Malorie Casimir, soprano, was recently seen singing George Crumb’s The Winds of Destiny with Jonathan Haas and the percussion ensembles at the Aspen Music Festival, NYU and Juilliard precollege. Recent performances also include the Boy in the table reading of Rufus Wainwright’s new opera, Hadrian with the Aspen Music Festival and Despina in Mannes Opera’s production of Cosi fan tutte. 
Casimir is a proud native of Brooklyn, NY and holds degrees from The Hartt School in Connecticut and Mannes School of Music in New York.


 Nelson Ebo


Angolan tenor Nelson Ebo has won multiple awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Giulio Gari Foundation, New Jersey State Opera, and Opera Ebony. Rising from singing in the chorus at his church in Luanda, Nelson has sung for the King of Spain, Maestro Placido Domingo, and has studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Nelson's roles have included Knight Antonius Bloc in the International Brazilian Opera company's contemporary opera "The Seventh Seal", Pollione in Bellini's Norma in both Treviso and Ferrara, Italy, and both Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Utah Festival Opera Company."


Kelly Griffin


Soprano, Kelly Griffin, has been described as “bringing her voice of considerable power and warmth to every role she embodies”. She recently sang her first concert performance of the title role in Verdi's Aida, joined New Amsterdam Opera as Leonora in Verdi's La Forza del Destino, and revisited the great scena of Verdi's Lady Macbeth as part of Salt Marsh Opera's Opera Palooza. Kelly has been featured in concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, and Danbury Symphony Orchestra. This season, in addition to her debut with Heartbeat Opera, Kelly will join Opera in the Heights as Amelia in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera.


Daniel Klein


Imaginative, adventurous, and occasionally downright terrifying, audiences have found in Bass-Baritone, Daniel Klein an exciting example of versatility. Recent appearances include Marcello in La Boheme with Long Island Opera; Fra Melitone in La Forza del Destino with New Amsterdam Opera; Hyde in the New York Premier of Carlisle Floyd’s The Prince of Players with the Little Opera Theater of New York and the bass soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Handel's Messiah with Garden State Symphony.  Other recent credits include the title role Frank London’s new opera Hatuey: A Memory of Fire at the Sundance Theater Lab, Don Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia of which the New York Times said he was ‘an unusually dark and steely Bartolo.’  He joined the Altamura/Roundtop Festival as Geronimo in Il Matrimonio Segreto, and returned to Opera Company of Middlebury as Ping in Turandot where he has performed Marcello in La bohème, Rambaldo in La rondine and Mustafà in The Italian Girl in Algiers (L’Italiana in Algeri),  Monterone in Annapolis Opera's Rigoletto,  Tonio in Opera Providence's Pagliacci, and as the Recluse in Frank London’s Talmudic-Klezmer Oratorio A night in the Old Marketplace in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


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