Denis & Katya
Music by Philip Venables, with a libretto by Ted Huffman • May 6, 9, 12, 14, & 20, 2023
Based on the shocking true story
On November 14, 2016, Denis Muravyov and Katya Vlasova, fifteen-year-olds in the rural Pskov region of Russia, died after a three-day standoff with Russian Special Forces. They live-streamed their last hours onto internet sites, leaving behind a trail of devastating video footage: drinking and smoking, cuddling and crying, and preparing to die.
Denis and Katya could have been your children, best friends, or classmates. Two teenagers who lived every moment—including their last—online. What led to their violent deaths? Why did they choose to broadcast their final moments on social media? And what does it say about the voyeuristic society that watched, liked, and objectified them in real-time, transforming two kids into clickbait?
This visceral opera uses verbatim text to examine the vast public response to the events surrounding the tragedy of these two Russian runaways, exploring how stories are shaped and shared in our age of trolls, conspiracy theories, fake news, and 24/7 digital connection.
The New York Times called Denis & Katya "an intimate, haunting triumph", and Musical America called it “ … the most brilliantly original operatic work I’ve seen in a decade."
Production co-produced by Opera Philadelphia, Music Theatre Wales, and Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier
Stage Director: TBA
Scenic Designer: TBA
Costume Designer: TBA
Wig and Make-up Designer: James Geier
Lighting Designer: TBA
Stage Manager: TBA
Assistant Conductor: Glenn Lewis
Director of Musical Studies: Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist: James Lesniak
Assistant Stage Director: Haley Stamats*
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
Five performances at the Bitz Opera Factory, 2425 Liberty Avenue, in Pittsburgh’s Strip District
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- Run time: TBA
- Understand Every Word: Denis & Katya is sung in in English and Russian with English supertitles projected above the stage
- Parking near Bitz Opera Factory- Street parking is generally available on Penn Avenue, and there is a surface lot at 24th and Penn, right beside Harp & Fiddle.
- Pre-Opera Talks TBA
- Braille Programs TBA
- Large-Print Programs TBA
- Children must be ages 6 and up. Suggestions and tips for bringing children to the opera may be found at pittsburghopera.org/FAQ.
- All children must have a ticket. There is a 50% discount for kids and teens ages 6-18.