Denis & Katya
Music by Philip Venables, with a libretto by Ted Huffman • May 6, 9, 12 & 14, 2023
Bitz Opera Factory
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.
Denis & Katya is sponsored in part by a gift from an Anonymous Donor.
Where: The Bitz Opera Factory (Pittsburgh Opera's headquarters), 2425 Liberty Avenue, in Pittsburgh's Strip District
- Sat., May 6, 2023 * 8:00 PM
- Tues., May 9, 2023 * 7:00 PM
- Fri., May 12, 2023 * 7:30 PM
- Sun., May 14, 2023 * 2:00 PM
Head of Music / Musical Preparation: Glenn Lewis
Revival Stage Director: Haley Stamats*
Set Designer: Andrew Lieberman
Costume Designer: Millie Hiibel+
Sound Designer: Rob Kaplowitz+
Lighting Designer: Todd Nonn
Stage Manager: Hannah Nathan
Director of Musical Studies: Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist: James Lesniak
Original Production: Ted Huffman
+ 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!
Here are some details and resources to help. Also visit our Opera FAQs or our Accessibility page.
- Run time: ~65 mins, no intermission
- 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.
- Study Guide
- Pre-Opera Talks (Please note: There is no Pre-Opera Talk for this production)
- Braille Programs
- Large-Print Programs
- 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.