Opera Philadelphia


The Listeners

The Listeners

American Premiere
Music by Missy Mazzoli
Libretto by Royce Vavrek
Based on an original story by Jordan Tannahill
Performed in English with English supertitles

The Sound of a Divided Nation

Composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek follow up on their acclaimed 2016 world premiere Breaking the Waves with a thriller about the seductive power of cults and charismatic leaders in a divided nation.

The Listeners examines the lengths to which we, as Americans, are willing to go to find a sense of place and purpose, and the way in which confident, charming leaders can exploit these needs to their own ends.

A middle-class mother (soprano Nicole Heaston in her company debut) living in a southwestern U.S. suburb notices a “hum,” a high-frequency environmental noise that only a select few people, the "Listeners,” can hear. A community organization quickly forms to solve the mystery of the hum, but when the de facto leader (Kevin Burdette) suggests a spiritual significance, the meetings become increasingly cult-like. Is this community of “Listeners” on a collision course with destruction?

Watch Play

The Listeners video

MapAcademy of Music

Wed, Sep 25 7:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep 27 8:00 p.m.
Sun, Sep 29 2:00 p.m.

Runtime is approximately 2 hours and 23 minutes including one 20-minute intermission

Co-commissioned and co-produced with Norwegian National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago

Opera Philadelphia’s 2024-2025 Season is brought to you by the Artistry Now Matching Fund and Barbara Augusta Teichert

Academy of Music productions are made possible with support from Judy and Peter Leone

Major support for The Listeners has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Stephen A. Block, Robert N. Braun, M.D., Marcus Innovation Fund, and Ashley and Eli Wald

Cast & Creative Team

Corrado Rovaris
Corrado RovarisConductor Underwritten by Mrs. John P. Mulroney
Lileana Blain-Cruz
Lileana Blain-Cruz *Director
Nicole Heaston
Nicole Heaston *Claire Devon
Troy Cook
Troy CookPaul Devon
Lindsey Reynolds
Lindsey ReynoldsAshley Devon
Kevin Burdette
Kevin BurdetteHoward Bard
Aaron Crouch
Aaron Crouch Kyle Harris
Rehanna Thelwell
Rehanna ThelwellAngela Rose
John Moore
John MooreDillon
Lucy Schaufer
Lucy SchauferHortense
Joseph Lim
Joseph Lim *Thom
Daniel Taylor
Daniel TaylorVince
Diana Newman
Diana Newman *Danica
Jessica Beebe
Jessica BeebeSina
Taylor-Alexis Dupont
Taylor-Alexis Dupont *Emily
Zachary Altman
Zachary AltmanBram
Guadalupe Paz
Guadalupe Paz *Theresa Alvarez
Alissa Anderson
Alissa AndersonMrs. Moreno
Amanda Sheriff
Amanda Sheriff *Jess
Lauren Cook
Lauren CookLee Ann
  • Adam Rigg Set Design
  • Kaye Voyce * Costume Design
  • Yi Zhao * Lighting Design
  • Daniel Neumann * Sound Design
  • Raja Feather Kelly * Choreography
  • Hannah Wasileski * Video Design
  • Elizabeth Braden Chorus Master
  • Cori Ellison Dramaturgy
  • Jennifer Shaw Stage Manager
  • Brianna Thompson Assistant Stage Manager
  • Savannah Valigura Assistant Stage Manager
  • *Opera Philadelphia debut
Missy Mazzoli & Royce Vavrek

Composer & Librettist

Missy Mazzoli & Royce Vavrek

A fast-rising composer on the contemporary music scene, Missy Mazzoli’s talent draws audiences equally into concert halls and rock clubs. Her unique music reflects a trend among composers of her generation who combine styles, writing music for the omnivorous audiences of the 21st century. She inhabits a gorgeous and mysterious sound-world that melds indie-rock sensibilities with formal training from Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayers, and others. Practically speaking, she amasses music in layers not normally found together but in ways that create matchless vertical harmonies. Learn more about Missy

Royce Vavrek is an Alberta-born, Brooklyn-based librettist and lyricist known as “an exemplary creator of operatic prose” (The New York Times) and "the indie Hoffmanstahl" (The New Yorker). Learn more about Royce

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