Mission Opera will present “Susannah,” an American musical drama by Carlisle Floyd in three performances scheduled for June 9 at 7:30 p.m. and June 10 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Canyon High School Performing Arts Center in Santa Clarita.
The show, presented in English, is adapted from the Apocryphal tale of “Susannah and the Elders” and set in 1950s Bible Belt Appalachia.
Floyd’s “Susannah” is one of the most-performed American operas of all time. Composed 50 years ago at the height of the McCarthy era persecutions, it is a flawlessly effective melodrama focused on an innocent woman victimized by a narrow Evangelical community in rural Tennessee. According to the Daily Telegraph, “it speaks straight to the heart through music of uninhibited tonal simplicity and Pucciniesque fervor.”
Meagan Carlson and Jeannine Allen share the role (in different performances) as Susannah, the beautiful Appalachian girl who innocently incites the lust of her church Elders, leading to her denouncement as a sinner.
Mission Opera veterans Gabriel Manro and Phil Meyer share the role (in different performances) as the deleterious Reverend Olin Blitch, who cannot overcome his own desire for Susannah, and newcomer Arthur Miller stars as Susannah’s brother, Sam, who seeks revenge on the preacher.
Ben Cross makes his Mission Opera debut, sharing the role of Little Bat McLean, with veteran performer Dylan F. Thomas of Valley Opera & Performing Arts.
Maestro Brian Stone returns to the helm of the orchestra with Lindsay Aldana, music director and accompanist.
The production is directed by Mission Opera Artistic Director, Dr. Joshua Wentz and features a multimedia design on the 46’ LED screen, creatively combining traditional theater with contemporary video design and virtual settings.
“This show is a wonderful treat for anyone who doesn’t know about opera but loves musicals and theater. This hybrid show features folk music, dance and an experience that one would more likely find on Broadway than in an opera house,” said Wentz.
The entire performance will last 2 hours and 5 minutes, which includes a 15 minute intermission.
Susannah Polk, a wide-eyed and lovely young woman, lives a simple and happy life with her older brother Sam, who raised her. She finds herself viciously ostracized by her small Tennessee mountain village after a group of church elders discover her bathing nude in a secluded stream near her home. Though her intentions were entirely innocent, she is painted as a sinning seductress by the elders, in part to conceal their own lustful feelings, and the entire town turns against her. A visiting preacher, Reverend Olin Blitch, tries to force her into repentance to “save her soul,” but turns out to be far more of a devil than is shown in his evangelistic exterior: He rapes Susannah and discovers all too intimately her innocence. He begs her, and the Lord, for forgiveness, but is shot dead by Sam as revenge for violating his sister. The town descends on Susannah’s house to drive her out of town, but she stands her ground, laughing maniacally as she chases them off with a shotgun, leaving her starkly alone.
Four tiered level tickets available for this LIVE show ranging from $30-$55 and sold at www.missionopera.com or through Eventbrite at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/susannah-tickets-616145968177
Student and senior tickets available for $20 with ID at the box office. Concessions and merchandise sold before the show and during intermission.
Promo code EARLYBIRD available until 5/20 for $10 off all tickets.
For additional information, contact Joshua Wentz at (307) 350-0373 or email@example.com.
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