Managing Director, Heartbeat Opera

Heartbeat Opera
New York, NY 10011

Job Details


“Bracing—icy vodka shots of opera instead of ladles of cream sauce.”

-The New York Times


Heartbeat Opera, “a categorically imaginative company” (The New Yorker), enters its seventh season seeking a Managing Director (preferably full-time) to replace its recently departed part-time Managing Director. Founding Co-Artistic Directors Ethan Heard and Louisa Proske are looking for an inventive, ambitious, energetic partner to join their close-knit collaboration — an outside-the-box thinker and leader who will take pride co-steering Heartbeat through this pandemic and onto a thriving future. 


Ethan Heard (Co-Artistic Director & Producer) and Louisa Proske (Co-Artistic Director) founded Heartbeat Opera in 2014, after they graduated from Yale School of Drama’s directing program, to create radical adaptations of classic operas in intimate spaces for 21st century audiences. “One of the most agile and dynamic companies on New York’s indie opera scene” (Opera News), Heartbeat has already established itself as a highly-respected, innovative force in the opera world. 

In its first six 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, here and now. 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. Heartbeat has taken its productions to the Kennedy Center, BAM, and Chamber Music North West in Portland, Oregon. It staged the first ever opera performance on The High Line and has mounted its immensely popular, interdisciplinary Halloween Drag Extravaganza each year since its founding, in iconic venues such as National Sawdust and Roulette. 

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 and plans to tour in the near future.

This spring, Heartbeat took Lady M, its adaptation of Verdi’s Macbeth, online and sold out 32 Virtual Soirées, extending twice, reaching 740 households across 5 continents. Robust and exciting plans for future online programming are already in the works. 

Heartbeat has been hailed across the national and international press, including three features in The New York Times, stories on CNN and the BBC, and an ALL ARTS/WNET documentary: “bold and vivid” (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).

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Mission & Vision:

From the drama at the core of each work, Heartbeat Opera grows vivid theatrical worlds through revelatory adaptations, radical rearrangements, and ingenious design. Through an inquisitive collaborative process with a diverse community of artists, we break down traditional barriers to reimagine opera for artists and audiences of the twenty-first century.


Co-founders Ethan Heard (Co-Artistic Director & Producer) and Louisa Proske (Co-Artistic Director) lead the company with consistent collaborative participation by Co-Music Directors Jacob Ashworth (violin) and Daniel Schlosberg (piano and arrangements). The Managing Director will work closely with all four artistic leaders.


Heartbeat is governed by a 6-member Board, formally constituted two years ago, populated by business leaders, attorneys, artists, and philanthropists – all of whom are opera lovers. Board Chair Robert Fitzpatrick formerly ran Euro Disney, Cal Arts, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Chicago. 

Opportunities & Challenges:

Heartbeat began with a $10,000 Kickstarter Campaign. In six short years, the company has blossomed into a $500,000 organization. Heading into its seventh season, Heartbeat has great momentum, exciting opportunities, and significant challenges. For example, artistic collaborations with other organizations, including touring, are in the works, pending the progress of the global pandemic. The company has succeeded in cultivating a robust community of individual donors, but needs to go after more government and foundation funding. In many ways, Heartbeat has experienced a growth spurt in the last two years and needs the incoming Managing Director to strengthen its infrastructure and long term strategy. The company is dedicated to creating equity, diversity, and inclusion through anti-racist actions in its art-making and administration. Heartbeat would also like to deepen and expand its education work, especially its initiative “Heartbeat for All” which provides free tickets to students. 


The Managing Director, reporting to Ethan Heard (Co-Artistic Director & Producer), provides vision, strategic leadership, organization, and direction for all business aspects of Heartbeat Opera. They will lead financial management activities, human resources, strategic planning, fundraising, and institutional advancement of this cutting-edge, fast-growing company. 


  • manage the financial affairs of Heartbeat Opera with the objective to support the organization’s artistic and programmatic excellence through detailed, balanced annual budgets;
  • deliver organized, thorough income, expense, and cash flow reports;
  • oversee the Marketing Manager in developing and implementing marketing programs to increase and diversify the audiences for Heartbeat’s operatic productions, and the reach for Heartbeat’s brand; 
  • oversee the Development and Operations Manager in implementing effective strategies and campaigns to increase contributed income from individual and institutional donors, as well as administrative tasks such as company management and community-outreach programs; 
  • negotiate contracts with Heartbeat staff and artists, venues, presenters, and co-producers (incl employment agreements, contractor and vendor engagements, booking agreements, and co-production contracts);
  • contract and oversee the organization’s legal, financial, tax, and other consultants;
  • support the Co-Artistic Directors and Board in matters relating to planning, fundraising, fiduciary management and oversight;
  • direct all activities relating to the operations and maintenance of Heartbeat’s office space on West 20th Street in Manhattan;
  • be a vocal representative and advocate for Heartbeat Opera to the global community of Heartbeat’s audience members, funders, and strategic partners.

In collaboration with the Co-Artistic Directors:

  • build and monitor the organization’s operating and individual production budgets; 
  • oversee human resources efforts to recruit, retain, motivate, and evaluate an outstanding team of collaborators.

Reporting to the Managing Director will be the Marketing Manager and all other administrative support staff (Development and Operations Manager, Social Media Manager, Digital Media Manager, Accountant, and any temp administrative staff). 


Ideally, the successful candidate for this role will be an ambitious and energetic leader who combines a passion for the performing arts with significant, relevant experience in managing the operational and financial aspects of a not-for-profit arts organization. They will possess most of these skills and experiences: 

  • leadership experience, including creating financial structures for an arts organization;
  • fundraising experience (including institutional and individual giving);
  • excellent budgeting and bookkeeping skills;
  • strong organization, communication and interpersonal skills; 
  • the ability to delegate effectively and inspire staff to do their best work and achieve successful results;
  • remaining creative and self-motivated while attentive to the overall vision and direction provided by the Co-Artistic Directors;
  • excellent supervisory skills and a track record for mentoring and developing staff;
  • fluency in Google Suite.

Heartbeat Opera is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

The candidate must reside full-time in New York City, with the ability to eventually work fulltime from Heartbeat’s Chelsea offices. 

Personal Qualities:

  • Creativity and outside-the-box thinking for administration;
  • self-motivated, good at prioritizing, efficient;
  • curiosity and listening skills;
  • savvy in navigating complicated situations;
  • good at reading and managing people;
  • calm and sense of humor under pressure;
  • strong interest in creating equity, diversity, and inclusion through anti-racist actions in art and administration.

Compensation, Application Procedure, and Start Date:

The salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size, with benefits (TBD), as well as paid vacation/holidays.

How to Apply:

The hiring decision will be made by the Co-Artistic Directors, with input from other key Heartbeat leadership. Their hope is to make a final decision by late summer with the new Managing Director starting as soon thereafter as possible. In light of the pandemic, Heartbeat is flexible in terms of start date, working remotely, and whether the candidate can be full-time right away or not. 

Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter, resumé, and four professional references. The cover letter of no more than 1½ pages should address how Heartbeat’s mission and goals intersect with the candidate’s professional background and what about this opportunity is of greatest interest to them personally. 

Application materials should have the applicant’s name included as part of each file name and must be submitted by email to Questions about this search may be submitted to with “Managing Director Search” in the subject line. 



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