Opera is an artistic medium that articulates and confronts human passions with powerful immediacy. This conviction is what drives Heartbeat Opera’s desire to rejuvenate opera and to transform its recognized masterpieces from venerated relics into freshly challenging encounters.
Breathing Free builds on Heartbeat Opera’s 2018 collaboration with 100 incarcerated singers in six prison choirs, part of a contemporary Fidelio told through the lens of Black Lives Matter. Now, in the turbulent wake of George Floyd’s murder and in the grip of a pandemic which is ravaging our prison population, Heartbeat curates a song cycle brought to life by three singers, three dancers, eight instrumentalists and the use of vivid music videos, mingling excerpts from Beethoven’s Fidelio with songs by Black composers and lyricists, which together manifest a dream of justice and equity.
The premiere of this show is on Saturday, February 20, 2021. It will be streaming on-demand through February 27, 2021.
Additional support for the creation of this work was generously provided by The Mondavi Center.