New York Opera Fest 2017: Heartbeat Opera is Changing Things up in Two Opera Classics

By Katharine Baran

Heartbeat Opera is switching up two traditional masterpieces, Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly (here known as “Butterfly”)” and Bizet’s “Carmen,” for its third annual Spring Festival. The event, which takes place this year at Baruch Performing Arts Center, will feature two ninety-minute opera adaptations, each showcasing unique staging and re-orchestrated versions of the shows.

“Butterfly” will start on Saturday, May 20 at 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. as part of their opening night gala, Friday, May 26 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 28 at 3:00 p.m. Ethan Heard, the director, also aided the music director Jacob Ashworth in coming up with the adaptation, while Daniel Schlosberg worked on the new arrangement for the production.

“Carmen” will debut on Sunday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. and then again on Tuesday, May 23 at 9:30 p.m. for the second half of the opening night gala. It will continue its run on Thursday, May 25 ay 8:00 p.m., Saturday, May 27 at 8:00 p.m., and finally on May 28 at 5:30 p.m.

Louisa Proske came up with the adaptation for the performance and will direct it as well. Also for “Carmen,” Daniele Schlosberg will be the music director and came up with the new arrangement for the iconic piece. In every presentation, the resident ensemble, Cantata Profana will sing and play.

In “Butterfly” the ensemble will have two violins, two cellos, viola, and harp; in “Carmen” there will be piano, percussion, saxophones, bass, guitar, and violin, while the score will contain improvisational elements.