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.

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

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