Derrell Acon, Julia Bullock, Jeanine Tesori Headline Heartbeat Opera’s 2020-21 Online Season

By Logan Martell
(Credit: Christopher Ash)

Heartbeat Opera has announced the works that will make up the company’s 2020–21 season. In a show of solidarity with artists during this time, 85 percent of the company’s budget will be devoted to employing more than 50 collaborators.

The season will open in September with “The Secret Sauce,” described as a soiree-style reflection on Heartbeat Opera’s first seven years as a company. Broadcasts will feature archival footage and stories, hosted by special guests such as Julia Bullock,  Jeanine Tesori, Derrell Acon, Liz Diamond, Wendy Lesser, and Gondula Kreuzer. Each evening will show three different videos across the week of airing,

Streaming Dates: September 14-20, 2020

The season will resume in the winter of 2020 with “Breathing Free.” This theatrical song cycle blends Beethoven’s “Fidelio” with works from Harry T. Burleigh, Langston Hughes, Anthony Davis, and more. In 2018, Heartbeat Opera worked with over 100 incarcerated singers in six prison choirs for its production of “Fidelio” and this updated song-cycle will reflect contemporary issues of imprisonment, justice, and equity. It will feature Derrell Acon, Curtis Bannister, and Kelly Griffin.

The company will bring the season to a close in the spring of 2021 with the premiere of its first commissioned opera “The Extinctionist,” with music by Daniel Schlosberg and libretto and book by Amanda Quaid.  The work was conceived by Louisa Proske, who will also direct. Described as a dark comedy, the work will explore themes of ecological disaster and female agency, and will be created as a hybrid online/in-person work.