The Broad Stage presents Heartbeat Opera’s “Fidelio”

A Black activist is wrongfully incarcerated. His wife, Leah, disguises herself to infiltrate the system and free him. But when injustice reigns, one woman’s grit may not be enough to save her love…

With music by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Heartbeat Opera’s daring 90-minute adaptation of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio pits corruption against courage, hate against hope. This imaginative live staging features five singers, seven instrumentalists, and a recorded chorus of more than 100 incarcerated singers and 70 outside volunteers from six prison choirs in four states across the Midwest.

Heartbeat’s acclaimed adaptation of Beethoven’s 1814 masterpiece has been dynamically re-orchestrated and reimagined for the era of Black Lives Matter. The company’s tour visits four cities in NY, CA, and AZ with a refreshed libretto and cast and production updates.

To celebrate Black History Month, Heartbeat Opera proudly presents their adaptation of Fidelio. This contemporary, American version of the story envisions Florestan as Stan, a Black Lives Matter activist. With their four-city tour, the company recommits to uplifting the artistry of Black folks every month.

Kelly Griffin in Heartbeat Opera’s FIDELIO, photo by Russ Rowland.

Sung in German with English supertitles, with spoken English dialogue.

Heartbeat Opera FIDELIO

Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Original libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner & Georg Friedrich Sonnleithner
Adapted & Directed by Ethan Heard
Arranged & Music Directed by Daniel Schlosberg
New English Dialogue Co-Written by Marcus Scott & Ethan Heard


Derrell Acon and Kelly Griffin return to their roles of Roc and Leah
Victoria Lawal is Marcy 

Curtis Bannister is Stan
Corey McKern is Pizarro

Also featuring the voices of more than 100 incarcerated singers and 70 volunteers from six prison choirs across the Midwest:
Oakdale Community Choir •  KUJI Men’s Chorus UBUNTU Men’s Chorus • 
HOPE Thru Harmony Women’s Choir •  East Hill Singers •  Voices of Hope

The Broad Stage – Main Stage

1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401.

Parking is free.
When:            Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 7:30pm
                        Sunday, February 27, 2022 at 4:00pm

Suggested age 12+. Run time 100 minutes.
Tickets:         Prices              Start at $45.00  (Prices subject to change)
                        Phone              Box Office at 310.434.3200
                        In Person         Box office at 1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401
                                                  beginning two hours prior to performance.
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Please go here for information about vaccination requirements and other safety protocols.

About Heartbeat Opera:

Heartbeat Opera was founded by ​​​​Ethan Heard (Co-Founder & Artistic Director) and Louisa Proske (Co-Founder & Resident Director) in 2014, after they graduated from Yale School of Drama’s directing program, to create incisive adaptations and revelatory arrangements of classics, reimagining them for the here and now. “One of the most agile and dynamic companies on New York’s indie opera scene” (Opera News), Heartbeat has established itself as a highly respected, innovative force in the opera world. Daniel Schlosberg and Jacob Ashworth joined the team as Co-Music Directors from the first season. In the summer of 2021, Proske relocated to Germany, and Heartbeat welcomed Derrell Acon as Heartbeat’s first Associate Artistic Director. Annie Middleton is the company’s Managing Director, and Lauren Hood is Interim Managing Director.

In its first seven seasons, Heartbeat has presented twelve fully realized productions, often featuring new chamber arrangements and English translations. Heartbeat adaptations, which can be seen as world premieres of classics, speak to the moment. Fidelio featured a primarily Black cast and more than 100 incarcerated singers from six prison choirs. Carmen was set on the U.S./Mexico border and featured accordion, electric guitar, and saxophone. During the pandemic, Heartbeat took Lady M, its adaptation of Verdi’s Macbeth, online and sold out 32 Virtual Soirées, reaching 740 households across five continents; it also created Breathing Free, a visual album, which screened at venues across the country and was nominated for the 2021 Drama League Award for Outstanding Digital Concert Production. Heartbeat has shared its work at the Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Broad Stage, The Mondavi Center, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and Chamber Music North West. It staged the first-ever opera performance on The High Line and has mounted its immensely popular, annual, interdisciplinary Drag Extravaganza in iconic venues such as National Sawdust and Roulette. 

Heartbeat has been hailed across the national Heartbeat has been hailed across the national and international press, including in four features in The New York Times, in stories on CNN and the BBC, and in an ALL ARTS/WNET documentary: “Bracing—icy vodka shots of opera instead of ladles of cream sauce” (New York Times), “elegant and boisterous” (New Yorker), “fascinating and gorgeous” (Observer), “ingenious” (Wall Street Journal), “gripping and entertaining” (Opernwelt), “a flatout triumph” (Opera News).

Heartbeat has collaborated with organizations such as Atlas DIY and A BroaderWay to bring opera education to young people in NYC. It is represented by the world-class artist agency Opus 3 Artists

About The Broad Stage:

The Broad Stage gathers artists, thinkers and audiences to celebrate our shared humanity and expand the role the arts play in the vitality of our diverse community. The Broad Stage is an industry-leading performing arts producer and presenter located on the Los Angeles’ Westside, providing a platform for the world’s most compelling artists working the theatre, dance and music and multidisciplinary artforms. Building upon its first decade, the organization is rising to meet a rapidly evolving set of needs for artists, audiences, community and campus, with the aim to advance its role as an invaluable cultural resource and artistic ambassador for greater Los Angeles.
A beacon of Santa Monica College (SMC) – one of the country’s most progressive, diverse and accessible educational institutions – The Broad Stage harnesses the transformative power of the performing arts as essential to well-being and society. Established in partnership with SMC in 2008, both organizations are aligned on core values of creativity, learning, and belonging. With the leadership of Artistic and Executive Director Rob Bailis, The Broad Stage is strengthening its impact though a new artistic vision, an expanded venue footprint, enhanced community activation. These activities invite a deeper relationship to the artists on our stage and to the work they passionately share. 

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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