Susannah is an opera in two acts by American composer Carlisle Floyd who adapted the story from the apocryphal tale of Susannah and the Elders. It is one of the most widely performed American operas and Opera New England is delighted to be able to bring it to an Australian audience with our very talented cast.
The story focuses on 19-year-old Susannah Polk, an innocent girl who is targeted as a sinner in the small mountain town of New Hope Valley in the Southern American state of Tennessee. It has been speculated that the opera was inspired by McCarthyism, a period of intense fear of communism in America during the early 1950s. The opera also contains many feminist themes that had not been widely explored in popular culture at the time of the opera’s writing. The opera has long been regarded as having some of the most glorious themes in the opera repertoire with a lush orchestral soundscape. This is the largest chorus Opera New England has assembled and audiences will be delighted by the full choral sound produced.
Performances – January 19th, 20th, 21st @ 7:30pm and Sun 22nd at 2:00pm
Opera New England provides singers who may be on the verge of a professional career the opportunity to rehearse and perform fully staged opera over four public performances. Singers are required to present fully prepared for their role for a period of intense rehearsal in Armidale and are responsible for their travel costs to and from Armidale. Singers are not paid a fee however they are provided with a full living away from home package including full board including meals and lodging during the rehearsal and performance period.
An opera in English – Benjamin Britten (1960)
I believe passionately in the intelligibility of the words – opera being a fusion of music, acting, painting and poetry, of which the last named demands to be understood. Because I do not speak Italian, it was not until I heard Mozart and Verdi opera sung in English that I realised to the full their fabulous subtlety, wit and dramatic aptitude. I always encourage my works to be sung in the vernacular – even pieces like the Spring Symphony and the Nocturne, which contain some of the greatest English poetry. Of course something is lost, but not a great deal when you substitute the gibberish which can result from singers using languages they do not understand and cannot pronounce.