Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA to present American opera 'Susannah'

April 7, 2010 - Sylvia Bierschenk
Sulphur Springs graduate student Monica Lancaster will play the title role in SFA's production of Carlisle Floyd's American opera "Susannah" on Thursday, April 15, and Saturday, April 17, in W.M. Turner Auditorium.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts, School of Music and School of Theatre will present Carlisle Floyd's opera "Susannah" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15, through Saturday, April 17, in W.M. Turner Auditorium, located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building.

Based on the apocryphal story of Susannah and the Elders, the plot focuses on an innocent 19-year-old girl who is targeted as a sinner in a small Tennessee mountain town in the 1950s. The opera was named the Best New Opera in 1956 by the New York Music Critics Circle and premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1999 with Renée Fleming singing the title role.

The cast consists of more than 40 vocal students, with most of the principal roles double cast to maximize the performance opportunities for the students, explained Deborah Dalton, SFA associate professor of voice and the production's stage director.

For the Thursday and Saturday performances, Sulphur Springs graduate student Monica Lancaster will sing the title role, McKinney senior Joshua Dennis will portray her brother Sam Polk, and Brownsville senior Patrick Taylor Russell will play the Rev. Olin Blitch.

On Friday night, Gallatin graduate student Monica Hamilton will play Susannah, Dallas junior Samuel (P.J.) Lopez will portray Sam, and Livingston junior Casey Jones Parrish will play the reverend.

The production will be conducted by Gene H. Moon, director of orchestral studies at SFA, and will feature SFA orchestral students. SFA theatre faculty and students are designing and/or providing the sets, lights and costumes.

The opera is part of the SFA College of Fine Arts' 2009-2010 University Series.

Prior to the April 15 performance, Dalton will give an informative talk at 7 p.m. in Griffith Gallery, directly across the hall from Turner Auditorium. The audience is invited back to the gallery after the performance for a reception and an opportunity to meet the cast.

The Griffith Fine Arts Building is located at 2222 Alumni Drive on the SFA campus.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and $6 for students. For tickets or more information, please visit www.sfasu.edu/finearts or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.