Festival Opera’s Susannah Tells a Timeless & Timely Story

Date: April 1, 2019
Contact email: press@festivalopera.org
Organization: Festival Opera
Phone: 925-944-9610

Walnut Creek, CA — Preparations are well underway for Festival Opera’s production of one of the few American operas that have earned wide international attention, namely Susannah by Carlisle Floyd. The opera in two acts will be presented at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Friday, July 12 at 8 PM and Sunday, July 14 at 2 PM. Festival Opera’s fully-staged production will be directed by Mark Foehringer with soprano Shana Blake Hill in the title role. Festival Opera’s principal conductor Bryan Nies will lead the orchestra. Other stars include tenor Alex Boyer and bass Philip Skinner.

Festival Opera’s newly appointed Artistic Director Zachary Gordin points out, “Floyd transports the quasi-biblical story of Susanna and the Elders to a universe he knew well — the American South.” Gordin adds, “It is a moving tale set to sweeping orchestral tones, evocative of the rolling hills of Tennessee, about an innocent young woman who suddenly becomes an outcast when her entire village conspires against her.” “It is at once a social commentary on the status of women, and a warning against demonizing other human beings, which I find particularly relevant to our time.”

An alumna of Los Angeles Opera’s Resident Artist Program, Shana Blake Hill made her Festival Opera debut in 2018 as Tosca in Love, Lust & Laughter. She has performed with LA Opera, Dayton Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Pacific, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Seattle Symphony and many others.

Now 65 years after its premiere, Floyd’s Susannah is the second best-known American opera after Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Tickets and information are available online at www.festivalopera.com or by calling the Lesher Center Box Office at 925-943-7469.


Press Photos (some may be large files and may take a few seconds to load)

Soprano Shana Blake Hill (Susannah Polk):

Tenor Alex Boyer (Sam Polk):

Bass Phillip Skinner (Rev. Olin Blitch):

Publicity Photo:

Marketing Poster:

Photos courtesy of Shana Blake Hill