Iowa Public Radio’s 2017 Arias in April series this year includes the University of Northern Iowa Opera Theatre in concert. IPR’s broadcast will present the UNI Opera Theatre’s performance of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah on Saturday, April 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 23 at 11:00 p.m.
American opera composer Carlisle Floyd was born in South Carolina and was the son of a Methodist minister. His interest in music piqued when he was a young man, and he chose to study piano with the prolific composer, pianist, and conductor, Ernst Bacon. He went on to become part of the piano faculty at Florida State University, where he became curious about composition. After composing two operas, he composed what would be his greatest success: Susannah.
In the backwoods of Tennessee, a beautiful young woman is accused of indecent behavior after she is discovered bathing naked in a stream. Will the charismatic traveling preacher who sets his sights on her soul be her salvation, or her downfall? Carlisle Floyd's all-American score, which beautifully evokes the work's rural Appalachian setting, "is unabashedly neo-Romantic," says The New York Times. The production was directed by UNI’s Dr. Mitra Sadeghpour, with Dr. Korey Barrett as vocal coach and Dr. Rebecca Burkhardt as orchestra director. Rev. Olin Blitch was performed by UNI’s bass Dr. John Hines and graduate soprano Kayla Kjeldseth took on the lead role of Susannah.