Tonight, opera Susannah opens at Wolf Trap Opera in Vienna, VA. This classic opera by Carlisle Floyd takes the Biblical story of Susannah and the Elders – a tale of attempted lust, sexual blackmail, and righteous indignation – and transplants it into rural Tennessee amidst a religious revival. Filled with evocative Appalachian soundscapes, beautiful music, and riveting drama, Susannah is one of a small handful of 20th-century American operas to have truly found its place in the canon. Whether you come for the drama, the music, the dancing, or the unfolding evil out of ordinary people, it is a thrill from start to finish.
Wolf Trap Opera’s production of Susannah features Ann Toomey in the title role, with Christian Pursell as Olin Blitch; Robert Stahley as Sam Polk; Joseph Leppek as Little Bat; and Tshegofatso Clement Baloyi, Travon Walker, Hayden Smith, and Dylan Gregg as Elders McLean, Gleaton, Hayes, and Ott. Directed by Dan Wallace Miller and conducted by Stephanie Rhodes Russell, the production features scenic designs by Christopher Mumaw, lighting by Marnie Cumings, costumes by Candace Frank, and choreography by Felicity Stiverson. Here’s a sneak peek at the production (all photos by Scott Suchman):