2019 Season

Welcome to Festival Opera’s 2019 Season, opening with our Artist Recital Series on March 21 and May 28, culminating in a stunning mainstage production of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah on July 12 and 14, featuring award-winning soprano Shana Blake Hill in the title role.

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Zachary Gordin & Bryan Nies
May 28, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
Lesher Center for the Arts

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Acclaimed baritone and Festival Opera’s Artistic Director Zachary Gordin presents a recital of songs by Robert Schumann, Reynaldo Hahn, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Jake Heggie with pianist and Festival Opera’s Principal Conductor Bryan Nies.

Gordin and Nies have collaborated and performed together for years. A notable joint project of the duo was their 2017 album Amour sans ailes – Songs of Reynaldo Hahn, which was released on the MSR Classics label and was soon named “Best Lieder Recording of 2017” by Voix des Arts. American Record Guide states: “I’ve appreciated Hahn’s songs since I first discovered them a decade ago and never more than here; Gordin’s singing is so intoxicating that I could hardly stop listening.”

Later this season Bryan Nies will take the podium in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah. This recital gives our patrons the opportunity to meet the conductor whose skillful interpretation will reveal the subtleties of this uniquely American opera.

Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah

Tickets for Friday, July 12 @ 8:00 PM  

Tickets for Sunday, July 14 @ 2:00 PM

18-year-old Susannah Polk is a typical teenager entering womanhood in the quiet mountain town of New Hope, Tennessee, when she finds herself bereft of hope as she becomes the target of ruthless and malicious gossip.

In his seminal opera, Carlisle Floyd revisits the Apocryphal tale of Susanna and the Elders, but transports the story to his own familiar universe — the American South of the 1950s during a time of profound social change. The nation was gripped by intense fear during the McCarthy era, when making accusations without evidence was common practice, while the the feminist and civil rights movements were also gaining momentum. More than six decades since its premiere, Floyd’s Susannah now stands as the second most beloved American opera, after Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

Join us for a stunning production of this uniquely American tale of innocence, lust, and social consequence.

Mark Foehringer, Director
Bryan Nies, Conductor
William Sauerland, Chorusmaster 
     Shana Blake Hill as Susannah Polk
     Alex Boyer as Sam Polk
     Philip Skinner as Reverend Olin Blitch
     Robert Norman as Little Bat McLean
     Eugene Brancoveanu as Elder McLean
     Michael Orlinsky as Elder Gleaton
     Joseph Meyers as Elder Hayes
     Malte Roesner as Elder Ott
     Erin Neff as Mrs. McLean
     Diana Tash as Mrs. Gleaton
     Kristen Campbell as Mrs. Hayes
     Danielle Marcelle Bond as Mrs. Ott
With the
     Festival Opera Orchestra & Chorus