Opera Lafayette & HeartBeat Opera Join Forces To Co-Produce ‘La Susanna’

By David Salazar

HeartBeat Opera and Opera Lafayette are set to collaborate on a production of “Alessandro Stradella’s oratorio “La Susanna.”

The joint production will be the work’s American stage premiere and will be the first co-production for both companies. Moreover, since the performances will take place at Brooklyn’s BAM and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, each company will be performing in a new venue; for HeartBeat Opera, this is the first time the company appears outside NYC and this will be Opera Lafayette’s first foray into Brooklyn.

“In light of the #metoo movement, we are reminded that ‘La Susanna’ is chillingly timeless. Originally conceived more than 300 years ago with a male narrator and male savior, this production re-casts the roles with women as storyteller and whistleblower. Directing this opera in 2019 as a man is tricky, humbling, and exciting,” noted Ethan Heard, co-Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera in a press release. “I want to make space for my female colleagues to tell their stories through this one. I want to listen. And I want to continue getting more woke to the patriarchy—of our world and of our art.”

The cast for the work will include Lucía Martín Cartón as Susanna with Sara Couden as the scholar / Testo. Ariana Douglas, Patrick Kilbride, and Paul Max Tipton will round out the cast. Heard will direct with Ryan Brown and Jacob Ashworth giving musical direction.

Performances in DC are slated for April 21 and 22 while the Brooklyn shows are slated for May 2-5, 2019.