This Halloween Drag Show Took Mozart to Outer Space

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Taurean Everett backstage at Heartbeat Opera’s gender-bending Halloween show.Photo: David Williams

Heartbeat Opera, a New York opera company, dedicated its third-annual Halloween drag show to Mozart’s music because, according to one director, the classical composer was entirely raunchy. “He’s a naughty guy,” co-artistic director Ethan Heard said after the show. (Example: Mozart’s 1782 canon “Leck mich im Arsch” — “Lick me in the ass.”)

Heard, one of four recent Yale grads who founded Heartbeat Opera in 2014, explained fusing drag with Mozart was the perfect fit: “Opera is already gender-bending, so it just feels right,” he said. “Women sing men’s parts and men sing women’s parts. It’s just a thing.”

The group transformed Williamsburg music hall National Sawdust into a spaceship last night, staging two benefit performances of Queens of the Night: Mozart in Space. They cast two costume designers to create the show’s glittering intergalatic looks: Miodrag Guberinic, who designed the armor for Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour, and Jon Carter, who created the make up for Broadway’s The King and I. Carter also did the performers’ hair and makeup. “Opera singers are aliens in a way, because they do something that’s superhuman,” co-artistic director Louisa Proske said. “We wanted that to be visually represented.”

The looks reflect that: intricate headpieces, cage bodysuits, and silver leather. Click ahead to see photos from the night.

Photographs by David Williams. Text by Catie L’Heureux.