Heartbeat Opera Announces Company Changes, Including Derrell Acon as Associate Artistic Director
Heartbeat opera announced that from July 1, 2021, the bass-baritone Derrell Acon will become the company’s first associate artistic director. Acon will also serve part-time on the West Coast at Long Beach Opera as Associate Artistic Director and Director of Impact.
Heartbeat audiences know Acon for his amazing performances as Rocco in Fidelio, Kaspar in Der Freischütz and singer in Breathing Free. In addition to his illustrious performing career, Acon has established himself as a respected and sought-after thought leader and blacktivist in the opera industry.
In addition to joining the Heartbeat Opera management team, Acon will be the creative producer of the company’s fall 2021 project “Quando il Glück monta i Verdi”, an opera short film and live performance featuring extracts from Orfeo ed Euridice from Christoph Willibald Gluck, and La Traviata and Don Carlo by Giuseppe Verdi, with compositional and narrative disturbances of living artists. This is the pilot production for the NO EVIL Projects, a multi-project series of lyrical and cinematic content that questions the saying: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” The film is created in co-production with another opera company (details to be announced shortly).Co-founder of Heartbeat Louisa proske, who was co-artistic director for his first seven seasons, will become associate artistic director of Halle opera house in Germany. She will remain on the Heartbeat Board of Directors, maintain close and ongoing communication with Heartbeat management, and return to direct Heartbeat’s individual productions, including the upcoming world premiere of The Extinctionist. Her new role at Heartbeat will be that of co-founder and resident director.Ethan Heard, who co-founded Heartbeat and served as co-art director alongside Proske from 2014 to 2021, will now become Heartbeat’s sole art director. Musical co-directors Jacob Ashworth and Daniel Schlosberg, and general manager Annie middleton remain at their posts.