La Susanna

presented in a co-production with Opera Lafayette

Music by Alessandro Stradella
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Giardini
Music Direction by Ryan Brown & Jacob Ashworth
Direction by Ethan Heard

More than 300 years after it was written and now cast for the first time with a female narrator, Stradella’s erotic oratorio resonates more strongly – and disturbingly – than ever.


The Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater
2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC
April 21-22, 2018

BAM Fisher (Fishman Space)
321 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, NY
May 2-5, 2019



Susanna // Lucía Martín-Cartón
Testo // Sara Couden

First Judge // Paul Max Tipton
Second Judge // Patrick Kilbride

Daniel // Ariana Douglas

Featuring a period instrumental ensemble including Ryan Brown and Jacob Ashworth on violin.


Music Direction // Ryan Brown and Jacob Ashworth
Stage Direction // Ethan Heard
Movement Direction // Emma Crane Jaster
Scenic Design // Reid Thompson
Costume Design // Beth Goldenberg
Lighting Design // Oliver Wason


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.


From Heartbeat’s Fidelio & Don Giovanni


Meet the Team

Ryan Brown

Co-Music Director

Ryan Brown is the founder and artistic director of Opera Lafayette. Through his work with Opera Lafayette, he 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 Mr. Brown’s frequent performances of Italian works by Haydn, Mozart, Paisiello, and Cimarosa have also met with great acclaim. His teachers included Dorothy DeLay and Gustav Meier. 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. In 2015, he conducted Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica at the Glimmerglass Festival. In 2016 he led Opera Lafayette’s modern premiere of Gaveaux and Bouilly’s Léonore, ou l’amour conjugal, which was filmed for future video release. Mr. Brown is a recipient of La Médaille d’Or du Rayonnement Culturelfrom La Renaissance Française. He was raised in a musical family in California, and performed extensively as a violinist and chamber musician before turning his attentions to conducting.

Jacob Ashworth - Heartbeat Opera


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. As a violinist and conductor, Jacob has gained a reputation from early baroque to contemporary music as a consummate stylist and ingenious curator of music, receiving the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in 2016 for his work with Cantata Profana. His performances have been called “exacting and sensitive” (Boston Globe), “richly detailed” (New York Times), and “a flat-out triumph” (Opera News). With Heartbeat, he has made a specialty of leading operas from the violin, "doing powerful work from the music stand" (Opernwelt). Jacob earned his doctorate from Yale under renowned violinist Ani Kavafian, and studied baroque violin with Robert Mealy as a member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble. Jacob has performed extensively on period instruments, including as concertmaster for Nicholas McGegan with Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Staunton Music Festival, Juilliard 415, Helicon Ensemble, and New York Baroque Incorporated. His album, “Hermestänze,” appears on MSR Records, and features cycles for solo violin by composer Susan Kander, played “expressively and knowingly throughout” (Gramophone).


Ethan Heard

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.


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 ›