Podcast 68: Louisa Proske and Daniel Schlosberg from Heartbeat Opera

Louisa Proske, director and Daniel Schlosberg, music director/arranger are two of the co-founders of Heartbeat Opera (#heartbeatopera, @heartbeat_opera) now entering it’s 6th season. Their new contemporary production of Weber’s Der Fresischutz is being produced at Baruch PAC, NY from December 4th-15th.



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  • Akhnaten by Philip Glass
    • The Metropolitan Opera
    • Phelim McDermott, director
    • Karen Kamensek, conductor
    • Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor – Akhnaten
    • Zachary James, bass baritone – Amenhotep III & Narrator
    • Aaron Blake, tenor – High Priest of Amon
  • Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck
    • The Metropolitan Opera
    • Mark Morris, director/choreographer
  • The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti
    • City Lyric Opera
    • Teatro Circulo in NY
    • Rachelle Pike, mezzo-soprano – Madame Flora

Gregory Moomjy has joined Indie Opera Podcast to writer opera reviews and articles about opera. His first article is about the Pharaoh Akhnaten and the reviews cover Akhnaten and Cosi fan Tutte.


  • Rhiannon Giddens, singer/composer/banjo player
    • McArthur Genius grant
    • Commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA for a new opera


  • Macbeth by Verdi
    • The Metropolitan Opera
    • Anna Netrebko, soprano – Lady Macbeth


  • Festival 019 Opera Philadelphia
    • Denys & Katya
    • Philip Venables, composer
    • Ted Huffman, librettist/director


  • The Nero Show! (a quasi opera cabaret)
    • Richard Pearson Thomas, composer
    • Bruce Rameker – Nero
  • Moulin Rouge on Broadway
    • based on the movie by Baz Luhrman
    • The Death of civilization as we know it
    • Dadaist theater


  • Heartbeat Opera
    • HOT MAMA, Singing Gays Saving Gaia
    • Ethan Heard, director
    • Jacob Ashworth & Daniel Schlosberg, co-music directors
  • John Taylor Ward – Plant/Monster of Climate Collapse
    • The Public Theater
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough
    • Ntozake Shange, playwright
    • Leah C. Gardner, director
    • Camille A. Brown, choreographer
  • The Slave Play
    • Jeremy O. Harris, playwright
    • Robert O’Hara, director
  • The Inheritance (inspired by E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End)
    • Matthew Lopez, playwright
    • Stephen Daldry, director
    • Broadway Musical revivals where the director and productions addressed the darkness that was inherent in the work and allowed it to come forward:
      • Oklahoma
      • South Pacific
      • Carousel
        • Francesca Zambello’s production of Candide also followed this path
  • PBS Great Performances broadcast 5 theatrical productions from London’s West End including:
    • The King and I, revival directed by Bartlett Sher
    • Kinky Boots by Cyndi Lauper & Harvey Fierstein
    • 42nd Street, which was given a traditional revival production, however in this day and age the musical came through very dated. This was true especially regarding the interactions between Billy Lawlor & Peggy Sawyer comes off as slimy and fratboy bad.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, is another classic song whose lyrics are highly problematic in our current day and age.

Heartbeat Opera

Daniel first met Ethan Heard in 2006 when he worked on a production of Street Scene with him.

Louisa and Daniel have created an updated version of Der Freischutz to somewhere in modern day mid western America.

This will be Heartbeat Opera’s largest cast used yet, 17 total onstage.

Dan has orchestrated for a chamber orchestra of 7 which will feature members of Cantata Profana:

  1. Flute/Piccolo/Alto Flute/Percussion
  2. B-flat Clarinet/Bass Clarinet/ E-flat Clarinet/Recorder/Guitar
  3. French Horn/Percussion
  4. Violin/Viola
  5. Viola/Violin
  6. Cello
  7. Keyboard-Synthesizer/Piano/Accordion

Plus additional original Electronic Music Sequences co-created by William Gardiner with Daniel.

Also there will be newly created underscoring during the spoken scenes that will support the dramatic moments. In the original only the Wolf Glen scene included underscoring.

Chloe Treat is the co-director for this production.

The movies and sound worlds of the filmmakers of David Lynch & Lars von Trier have inspired the style of this opera production.

The choice of arrangements and instrumentation comes out of many conversations between director and music director:

  • Carmen, the band was her troubadours
  • Lucia, the band was as if coming from inside her mind

Der Freischutz is a real “numbers” opera containing many folk-song like arias and ensembles, so the band is styled after a dance band.

Louisa and her husband, Michael Attias created new English language dialogue, however, the songs will be sung in German.

For May 2020 as part of NYOA’s Fifth New York Opera Fest 

From Ethan Heard:

Heartbeat tackles our first work by Verdi, creating a reordered, 90-minute version of Macbeth entitled Lady M. We center Lady Macbeth’s experience, looking at the story through a contemporary American lens. What does it mean to be an ambitious, driven woman today? How do power and wealth corrupt? And how do we strip away clichés that have accumulated around this story — and the character of Lady Macbeth in particular — in order to encounter this thrilling material in a fresh way? For 6 singers and 7 players, our adaptation features electronics, cutting-edge sound design, and three female soloists as the Witches, honoring Shakespeare’s original text and bringing Verdi’s thrilling music to life in surprising and otherworldly new ways including surround sound, vocal distortion, pitch manipulation, texture, and exaggerated dynamic contrast.

The cast of six remaining characters are: 

  • 3 witches
  • Lady Macbeth
    • Felicia Moore will be singing Lady Macbeth
  • Macbeth
  • Banquo

Daniel has had a recent success with his Fantasy on Twin Peaks for the Dover Quartet.



  • The Metropolitan Opera
    • The Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky
  • Oklahoma on Broadway
  • On Site Opera
    • Amahl and the Night Visitors


  • BAM’s New Wave Festival


  • The Slave Play


  • Jagged Little Pill
    • Alanis Morissette, songwriter
    • Diablo Cody, book writer
  • Dorrance Dance at Joyce Theater
    • Michelle Dorrance, founder
    • Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite
  • Prototype Festival 2020

EPISODE 69, JANUARY 2020 our guests will be soprano, Jennifer Zetlan and composer, Ricky Ian Gordon to talk about the new opera, Ellen West



Louisa Proske

brings her talent for creating vivid theatrical worlds, her raw passion and attention to detail to productions in opera, classical theatre and contemporary drama. She is the recipient of a Princess Grace Award and was chosen as the Musical America New Artist of the Month for May 2018. She is the proud Founding Co-Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera  (“a categorically imaginative company” – New Yorker, “pioneers” – The Wall Street Journal). Opera productions include Agrippina (Lincoln Center – Carnegie Hall/ Juilliard Vocal Arts), La Bohème (Pittsburgh Festival Opera), Così fan tutte (LoftOpera), Don Giovanni, Carmen, Lucia di Lammermoor, Daphnis & Chloé, Miss Handel (all Heartbeat Opera), Falstaff (Dell’Arte Opera), Gianni Schicchi, Riders to the Sea, La Voix Humaine (Yale Opera); the world premiere of Invisible Cities at the Italian Academy New York. 

Theatre productions include The White Devil (Red Bull Theater – NYTimes Critic’s Pick), peerless (nominated for a Berkshire Theatre Award for Outstanding Direction), Gaslight, This, Engagements (all Barrington Stage Company), One Day When We Were Young (Assembly, Edinburgh). 

Upcoming projects: Der Freischütz (Heartbeat Opera), The Mother of Us All (NYPhilharmonics, Juilliard, MetMuseum), Rinaldo (Glimmerglass Festival)


Daniel Schlosberg

The music of Brooklyn-based composer-pianist Daniel Schlosberg

has been performed by the Dover Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Nashville Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and Lorelei Ensemble, at venues including Carnegie Hall, (le) poisson rouge, Royal Albert Hall, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption, and has been featured in the New York Times and WNYC’s Soundcheck. Daniel has received the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards. Recent projects include the release of A Demonstration on New Amsterdam Records, Canal Songs for the Albany Symphony’s Erie Canal bicentennial, and a fantasy on Twin Peaks for the Dover Quartet. As a performer, Daniel has collaborated with such luminaries as David Shifrin, Ani Kavafian, Yura Lee, and the Imani Winds. This spring, Daniel was the pianist for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film West Side Story.

Daniel is co-Music Director of Heartbeat Opera, for which his re-orchestrations of classic operas have garnered national acclaim, core member of Cantata Profana, and rotating principal pianist of NOVUS NY. Daniel’s work has been described as “richly detailed yet delicate” by the New York Times and “witty” and “ingenious” by the Wall Street Journal. Daniel received his DMA from Yale University in 2018.



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