Boston University College of Fine Arts Presents The Opera Institute and Chamber Orchestra in Susannah

March 26, 2010

Composer Carlisle Floyd and Soprano Phyllis Curtin reunite for historic production

BOSTON, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Five decades after its premiere, the Boston University School of Music and School of Theatre will produce the classic American opera Susannah with composer and librettist Carlisle Floyd and original soprano Phyllis Curtin in residence. Longtime artistic collaborators Floyd and Curtin will reunite for portions of the rehearsal period, and will also hold pre-show discussions before the first two performances. Susannah runs April 15-18 on the mainstage of the Boston University Theatre and features conductor William Lumpkin, stage director Sharon Daniels, singers from the School of Music Opera Institute and vocal program, and accompaniment by the BU Chamber Orchestra. The production is designed by students from the School of Theatre and executed by Huntington Theatre Company staff.

Curtin, who premiered the title role in Susannah in 1955 and currently serves as Dean Emerita of the BU College of Fine Arts, was described in a 1963 Life magazine profile as “The country’s best and busiest singer of contemporary music, [who] has premiered more new operas than any American soprano going, and has had 53 works written expressly for her.” Besides premiering and championing multiple works by Floyd, Curtin has also premiered works by Darius Milhaud, Benjamin Britten, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Alberto Ginastera, among others.

Daniels, stage director of Susannah and Director of The Opera Institute at Boston University, twice performed the title role in Susannah with the composer directing. Of this production, Daniels explains, “I cannot think of an event that has brought more profound excitement to our faculty and singers at the Opera Institute. The opera, intentionally called a ‘musical drama’ by the composer, is a heart-wrenching story with compelling characters perfect for the young singing actor. It employs haunting folk and hymn-like melodies we feel we already know, along with a sumptuous orchestral texture that is uniquely American in style.”

Susannah is one of the most popular and often-performed American operas, second only to George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Set in a small Appalachian community in 1950s Tennessee, Susannah is the timeless story of the tragic consequences of runaway suspicion and gossip, fanned by religious zeal.

Production details available at www.BostonTheatreScene.com

SOURCE Boston University

Source: newswire

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