“A marvel both musically and dramatically.”

– The Classical Reivew

“A thoughtful production that did full justice to a forgotten work. [...] Ethan Heard gave new punch to an old story of female abuse at the hands of men.”

– The Washington Post

Heartbeat Opera and Opera Lafayette present a co-production of

La Susanna

Alessandro Stradella, composer
Giovanni Battista Giardini, librettist
Based on the story of Susanna and the Elders in the Book of Daniel
Premiere American Staging

Two judges desire the beautiful Susanna. When she rejects their advances, they exploit their power in an attempt to destroy her. It’s the Bible’s iconic story of sexual harassment and the perversion of justice. Originally conceived with a male narrator and male savior, Stradella’s seductive oratorio from 1681 becomes a startlingly powerful opera for 2019, with women as both storyteller and whistleblower. Heartbeat Opera (“imaginative and vital” – The New Yorker) and Opera Lafayette (“uncommonly rewarding” – Musical America) join forces to breathe new life into this baroque gem, which speaks truth to power here and now.



Sunday, April 21, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 22, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Pre-performance talks will take place one hour before each show.

The Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566
Single Tickets: $25 - $135
(202) 546-9332, ext. 1


Thursday, May 2, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 3, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 4, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 5, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

Friday, May 3:
Pre-show talk in downstairs lobby, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 4:
Post-show talkback on stage following performance
Sunday, May 5:
Pre-show talk in downstairs lobby, 2:00 p.m.

BAM Fisher (Fishman Space)
321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Single Tickets: $25 - $135
(202) 546-9332, ext. 1



Lucía Martín Cartón // Susanna
Sara Couden // Scholar/Testo
Ariana Douglas // Student/Daniel
Patrick Kilbride // Judge
Paul Max Tipton // Judge


Ryan Brown and Jacob Ashworth // Music Direction
Ethan Heard // Stage Direction
Emma Jaster // Movement Direction
Reid Thompson // Scenic Design
Beth Goldenberg // Costume Design
Oliver Wason // Lighting Design
Peregrine Heard and Jacob Ashworth // English Translation
Caroline Englander // Stage Management
Erin Krebs // Assistant Direction
Jenn Gallo // Assistant Stage Management
Tamrin Goldberg // Associate Movement Direction


Ryan Brown // Violin
Jacob Ashworth // Violin
Arash Noori // Theorbo
Anthony Manzo // Bass
Loretta O’Sullivan // Cello
Andrew Appel // Harpsichord


Plus, Heartbeat’s Ethan Heard and Opera Lafayette’s Ryan Brown spoke with WETA's James Jacobs about transforming the 17th-century masterpiece.


About Opera Lafayette

Opera Lafayette is an American period instrument ensemble focused on the French 18th-century opera repertoire and its precursors, influences, and artistic legacy. Opera Lafayette inspires a love of this repertoire by presenting rediscovered masterpieces and creating a recorded legacy of its work. Opera Lafayette performs at the highest level of artistic excellence in major theaters in Washington, New York, and international venues. Opera Lafayette educates and creates new audiences for its repertoire by making opera accessible to the general public, families, young people, and underserved audiences through its educational and outreach programs and performances in low-cost alternative venues.


Meet the CAST


Lucía Martín Cartón


Spanish soprano Lucía Martín Cartón makes her company debut with Opera Lafayette in the title role of La Susanna. A first-prize winner of the Renata Tebaldi International Voice Competition, Ms. Cartón works with early music ensembles including Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Cappella Mediterranea, Le Jardin des Voix, and Les Arts Florissants. She has collaborated with notable conductors including Leonardo García Alarcón, Jordi Savall, and William Christie. These collaborations have allowed her to perform on the international stage, including tours of Europe, Asia, the United States, and Australia. Opera credits include Amore (Gluck’s Orfeo et Euridice), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Venue (Blow’s Venus and Adnonis), Aracne (El Prometeo de Draghi), and Galatea (Aci e Galatea). She has performed in venues including Opera de Dijon, Opera de Lille, De Singel in Anvers, Gewandhaus, and Philharmonie de Paris and in festivals including Salzburg Festspiele, Festival Styriarte Austria, and Fontfroide. In 2020, she will perform Amore and Valletto in Incoronazione di Poppea  at Théâtre Champs Elysées. Ms. Cartón will return to the Opera Lafayette stage for their 25th season. 

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Sara Couden


Praised by Opera News for her “unusually rich and resonant” voice, contralto Sara Couden has already established herself as a premiere interpreter of operatic, chamber, and song repertoire. Highlights of her 2018-19 season include a return to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Marta and Pantalis (MEFISTOFELE), Dejainira (HERCULES), and Irene (THEODORA) at the Shaunton Music Festival, Israelitish Man (JUDAS MACCABAEUS) with Philharmonia Baroque, Shostakovich’s FROM JEWISH FOLK POETRY with the Chamber Music Series at Lincoln Center, and Bach’s ST. MATTHEW’S PASSION with True Concord Voices and Orchestra. She was thrilled to make her Carnegie Hall debut Distinguished Concert Artists International in Sir Karl Jenkins’ STABAT MATER.

Sara made her Met debut as Albine in the 2017 production of THAÏS. She is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist program, Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, and has participated in Music Academy of the West, Music@Menlo and the Marlboro Music Festival.


Ariana Douglas


During her young career, Ariana Douglas has been heard in a wide variety of roles which include Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Fiordiligi (Così fan tuttei), Mrs. Vance (Sister Carrie), Giulietta (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), Magda (La rondine) and both Erste and Zweite Damen, (Die Zauberflöte). In addition she has covered the roles of Ann Putnam and Mary Warren (The Crucible) and Clara (Porgy & Bess). She has been a member of the young artist programs of the Glimmerglass Festival and Florentine Opera and worked with La Musica Lirica, Operafestival di Roma and Skylight Music Theater. In the 2019-20 season she makes her role debut as Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) with Florentine Opera and joins Madison Opera as Diana (Orphée aux enfers). Last summer she was invited to participate in the workshop of the Glimmerglass Festival’s Blue by Jeanie Tesori creating the role of the Nurse and Girlfriend #1. On the concert stage she has soloed with the Rockford Symphony in Haydn’s Paukenmesse; University of Wisconsin in their presentation of Messiah; guest soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in Bruckner’s Te Deum; the Milwaukee Children’s Chorus in Mozart’s Missa brevis and Requiem with Louisiana State University. Ariana Douglas has been honored three-times by the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; once as a District Winner for Wisconsin; two-Encouragement Awards as well as the winner of the Josephine L. LiPuma Casa Italia award. She holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an advanced degree from Louisiana State University.


Patrick Kilbride


Praised for his "beautiful”, “sweet-voiced" and “vibrant” tone, as well as his “superbly acted” portrayals, tenor Patrick Kilbride is enjoying a flourishing international career. He pursued undergraduate study in voice at Northwestern University and graduate study in opera at the University of Maryland Opera Studio. He was a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival Opera Theater Center and the Tanglewood Music Center. He made his professional debut in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with the Boston Early Music Festival. Winner of the 24th International Concours de Chant in Clermont-Ferrand, France, he made his professional debut in Europe in Handel’s Acis and Galatea in 2015-2016 with Théâtre Municipal Montluçon, Opéra Grand Avignon, Opéra Théâtre de Clermont-Ferrand, Opéra de Rennes and Festival de la Chaise-Dieu. He returned to France in 2017 to debut with Festival d'Aix-en-Provence as a resident of the Académie, in Francesco Cavalli's Erismena, with Leonardo García Alarcón and Cappella Mediterranea. He joined the production’s European tour in 2017 and 2018, making his debut at the Opéra Royal de Versailles and Théâtre Gérard Philipe at the Festival de Saint-Denis. Spring 2018 marked his professional debut in the United Kingdom in Handel's Theodora with the Aldeburgh Festival in the historic Snape Maltings Concert Hall as a Britten-Pears Young Artist. Mr. Kilbride has been seen with Opera Lafayette in An Evening of Monteverdi and returned as Giove in Jommelli’s Cerere Placata. Upcoming performances include The Washington Bach Consort and Erismena at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon. 


Paul Max Tipton


Described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a dignified and beautiful singer, Paul Max Tipton, baritone, performs nationally to acclaim in repertoire ranging from Schütz and Monteverdi to Britten and Bolcom. He solos under such notable figures as Masaaki Suzuki, Matthias Pintscher, Nicholas McGegan, Leonard Slatkin, Ton Koopman, Helmuth Rilling and Martin Katz, and has performed with the Bach Collegium Japan, New York Philharmonic, Apollo's Fire, Seraphic Fire, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Recent engagements include Britten’s War Requiem, Rameau’s La Lyre Enchantée, and a recording of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 which earned a 2012 Grammy nomination. His singing of the Bach Passions are noted in particular for their strength and sensitivity. He studied at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Yale University, and is a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music in Boston. www.paulmaxtipton.com

Meet the Team


Ryan Brown

Music Director

Ryan Brown is the founder and artistic director of Opera Lafayette and conductor of Radamisto. His frequent performances of Italian works by Haydn, Mozart, Paisiello, and Cimarosa have met with great acclaim. In 2015 he conducted Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica at The Glimmerglass Festival, which was revived later in the year with Opera Lafayatte.  Through his work with Opera Lafayette, Mr. Brown has gained an international reputation for his interpretations of French opera and for his role in the revival of significant works from 18th and 19th centuries. His repertoire and discography of twelve sound recordings for Naxos include operas by well-known 18th-century composers (Gluck and Rameau) as well as rediscoveries of their contemporaries (Sacchini and Rebel/Francœur), works which exemplify traditions established in the 17th century (Lully and Charpentier), and those which point the way toward the music of the 19th century (Monsigny and Grétry).  He was widely lauded for the modern premiere and recording of Félicien David’s 1862 Lalla Roukh, a seminal work of musical Orientalism In 2016 he led Opera Lafayette’s modern premiere of Gaveaux and Bouilly’s Léonore, ou l’amour conjugal, which was recently released on DVD and Blu-Ray on the Naxos label. In 2014 Mr. Brown returned to the Opéra Royal in Versailles, leading Opera Lafayette in Philidor’s Les Femmes Vengées and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. He was raised in a musical family in California and performed extensively as a violinist and chamber musician before turning his attentions to conducting. His teachers included Dorothy DeLay and Gustav Meier. He is a recipient of La Médaille d’Or du Rayonnement Culturel from La Renaissance Française. 

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Jacob Ashworth

Co-Music Director

Jacob Ashworth is the “impressive Artistic Director” (New York Times) of Heartbeat's sister company, the baroque and modern “crack ensemble” (New Yorker) Cantata Profana, which he founded in 2012 at the Yale School of Music. He has also been Co-Music Director of Heartbeat Opera since the beginning. His own performances as a violinist and conductor from early baroque to contemporary music have been called “exacting and sensitive” (Boston Globe), “richly detailed” (New York Times), and “a flat-out triumph” (Opera News). On period instruments, Jacob has performed as concertmaster for Mark Morris Dance Group and Opera Lafayette, and with Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Staunton Music Festival, the Yale Baroque Ensemble, and New York Baroque Incorporated. 


Ethan Heard


As Founding Co-Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera, Ethan Heard has directed Fidelio, Butterfly, Dido & Aeneas, Kafka-Fragments, The Seven Deadly Sins, the drag extravaganzas Dragus Maximus: a homersexual opera odyssey, All the World’s a Drag!, Queens of the Night: Mozart in Space, Miss Handel, and The Fairy Queen, and a special performance on the High Line. Other opera includes the world premieres of Marisa Michelson’s Desire|Divinity (Judson), Rene Orth and Mark Campbell’s Empty the House (Curtis), and Sisyphus (Experiments in Opera); Erismena and L’Orfeo (Yale), and Poppea (Princeton). Musical theater includes Little Shop of Horrors, Bells Are Ringing, and A Little Night Music (Berkshire Theatre Group), The Other Room (Inner Voices), Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday in the Park with George (Yale), Next to Normal and Into the Woods (Princeton). He also served as Resident Director of China’s first jukebox musical, Jay Chou’s The Secret in Beijing and Shanghai. Plays include Middletown (The New School), Partners (AADA), The Cat and the Canary (BTG), Julius Caesar (Yale), The Gay Ivy (Dixon Place), and in a word (Williamstown). He received his BA and MFA from Yale, and as Artistic Director of Yale Cabaret, he began the beloved tradition of Yale School of Drag. He now teaches at Yale School of Drama and Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Originally from D.C., Ethan sang in the children’s chorus of Washington National Opera’s Mefistofele.  


Emma Jaster

Movement Director

Emma Jaster is a director, choreographer, and teaching artist based in New York.  Her work has brought her to India, Italy, Poland, Taiwan, and France, choreographing for actors, singers, dancers, students, and puppets. La Susanna is her seventh production with Heartbeat Opera, with whom she is an Associate Artist. She has worked with Opera Lafayette as an Educator and Assistant Director for their recent Radamisto.  She performed from childhood with her mime father, Mark Jaster and attended the Lecoq school for physical theatre in Paris. Grounding her work in social justice and the cultivation of peace, she believes in the power of art to teach us to listen better and love more.  She is founder and director of an international artist residency for mothers whose work can be found under #mamaisamaker. 

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Reid Thompson

Scenic Designer

Reid Thompson is a Brooklyn-based scenic designer for plays, musicals and opera. Las Susanna marks Reid’s seventh scenic design for Heartbeat Opera, where he is an associate artist, and his seventeenth collaboration with director Ethan Heard. Previous work with Heartbeat Opera: Fidelio, Butterfly, Lucia, Dido, Daphnis and Chloe, and Kafka-Fragments. Recent NY: Fruiting Bodies, Among The Dead, House Rules (Ma-Yi); Eddie and Dave (Atlantic Theater Co); Too Heavy For Your Pocket (Roundabout and Alliance); Wilder Gone (Clubbed Thumb); A Delicate Ship (Playwright’s Realm); Selkie (Dutch Kills); Empathitrax (Colt Coeur); Half Moon Bay (Lesser America). Recent Regional: A Doll’s House Part Two (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville); Gloria, Disgraced (Asolo Rep); Fun Home (Virginia Stage); A Streetcar Named Desire (Yale Rep). Opera: Lucretia (Stony Brook Opera); Erismena (Yale Baroque Opera). Other credits: A Little Night Music, Bells are Ringing, Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theater Festival); Speech and Debate (Barrington Stage); Into The Woods (Princeton). Upcoming: Something Clean (Roundabout). MFA: Yale School of Drama. Member of Wingspace and USA-829. reidthompsondesign.com


Beth Goldenberg

Costume Designer

Beth Goldenberg has designed costumes for opera companies including Heartbeat Opera (Don Giovanni, Carmen, Lucia di Lammermoor, Daphnis & Chloé, Kafka Fragments), Glimmerglass (Macbeth, the little match girl passion, Stabat Mater (Glimmerglass), and On Site Opera (The Guilty Mother, The Secret Gardener ). Theater work includes BAM Next Wave (Circus: Wandering City), Red Bull Theater (The White Devil, The Changeling), Second Stage (Engagements, The Other Thing), Dallas Theatre Center (Frankenstein, The Christians), Blueprints to Freedom with both La Jolla Playhouse and Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and Hartford Stage (Henry V, Queens For A Year). She is Associate Artist with Heartbeat Opera and has an MFA from NYU Tisch.  


Oliver Wason

Lighting Designer

Oliver Wason is an associate artist with Heartbeat Opera, and has designed many of their productions, including: Don Giovanni, Fidelio, Butterfly, Carmen, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Kafka Fragments, as well as their performance on the High Line. New York work includes The Chinese Lady, Among the Dead, House Rules (Ma-Yi); Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO); Wonderland (Atlantic Theater Co. for Kids); Agrippina (Juilliard Opera). Regional credits include shows at Yale Rep, Barrington Stage, Berkeley Rep, Berkshire Theater Festival, Playmakers Rep, Triad Stage, and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. Faculty: Northeastern University. MFA Yale. 


Arash Noori


Noted as “the compelling guitarist” by The New York Times, Arash Noori performs throughout North America and Europe on lutes and guitars as both a recitalist and accompanist. Arash has appeared in performances with Les Arts Florissants, Early Music New York, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Piffaro: The Renaissance Band, the Sebastians, ARTEK, and NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street amongst others. He is a core and founding member of Cantata Profana, acclaimed for its “intrepid and unexpected concerts” by The New Yorker and the recipient of Chamber Music America’s Award for Adventurous Programming in 2016.


Anthony Manzo


Anthony Manzo, is a sought-after chamber musician. He serves as the solo bassist of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra and is a regular guest with the Smithsonian Chamber Society and the National and Baltimore Symphonies. Formerly the solo bassist of the Munich Chamber Orchestra in Germany, he has been a guest principal with Camerata Salzburg in Austria; collaborations have included a summer residency (Salzburg Festival), and two international tours as a soloist alongside Thomas Quasthoff. Manzo is an active performer with groups including The Handel & Haydn Society of Boston and Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco. He is a member of the music faculty of the University of Maryland. 


Loretta O’Sullivan


Loretta O’Sullivan, solo cellist, continuo cellist, and chamber musician, has played with many of this country’s leading ensembles and orchestras. On period instruments, these include the Four Nations Ensemble, Opera Lafayette, Aston Magna, Capriccio Baroque, the American Classical Orchestra, Helicon, Clarion Music Society, and Trinity Baroque Orchestra. Her work specializing in baroque music on modern instruments includes the Bach Choir of Bethlehem. She frequently plays with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. 


Andrew Appel


Andrew Appel, Artistic Director of the Four Nations Ensemble, performs throughout Europe and the United States. As recitalist and winner of the Erwin Bodkey competition, Appel performs at Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls in NYC, and halls throughout America. Appel guests with Chatham Baroque, the Smithsonian Players, and Orpheus. As director of Four Nations, Appel has developed model programs in arts education and access benefiting school students and teachers. Dr. Appel has taught harpsichord and music history at the Juilliard School, Princeton, Temple and New York Universities, Moravian and Gettysburg Colleges.  He has enjoyed critical acclaim for his solo recorded performances of Bach, Couperin, LeRoux, Marchand, Bohm and Fischer on harpsichord and Haydn on fortepiano. Appel has recently served as president of the board of directors of Chamber Music America. 


Relive the 2018 spring Festival

DON GIOVANNI // May 2–12, 2018
While Don Giovanni dances at the edge of a precipice, three extraordinary women pursue him, each seeking their own reckoning, pleasure, and liberation. This visceral new production wrestles with Mozart’s elusive masterpiece in our present cultural moment.
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
Heartbeat Opera friends and supporters enjoyed the unique opportunity to see both DON GIOVANNI and FIDELIO on the same day, with an exclusive dinner between performances.
Learn More ›