The opera features two judges who desire the beautiful Susanna. “When she rejects their advances, they exploit their power in an attempt to destroy her. Taken from the timely story of Susanna and the Elders from the Book of Daniel, this is the Bible’s iconic story of sexual harassment and the perversion of justice,” notes the event summary.
The production was originally created with a male narrator and male savior. “Stradella’s seductive oratorio from 1681 becomes a powerful and complicated opera for 2019, with women as both storyteller and savior,” the brief adds.
Ethan Heard, Heartbeat Opera’s co-artistic director, has directed the opera. “In light of the #metoo movement, we are reminded that ‘La Susanna’ is chillingly timeless,” Ethan Heard said in a press release, noting that the production re-casts the roles with women as storyteller and whistleblower.
According to Heard, directing this opera in 2019 as a man was “tricky, humbling, and exciting.”
“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,” he said.
Lucía Martín Cartón makes her debut as Susanna in the opera, which also features Sara Couden as Testo, Ariana Douglas as Daniel, and Patrick Kilbride and Paul Max Tipton as the Elders.
Reid Thompson (scenery), Oliver Wason (lighting), and Beth Goldenberg (costumes) are among the designers of this new production. Ryan Brown and Jacob Ashworth directed the music.
The production contains mature content and themes. Book tickets here.