Oh, Susannah

Patricia Racette (Susannah) and James Kryshak (Little Bat)

Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah has become one of the most frequently performed American operas since its 1955 premiere — and with good reason. Floyd based the opera’s plot on the story “Susanna and the Elders” from the biblical Apocrypha and his childhood memories of being taken to revival meetings in South Carolina by his staunchly devout father. It’s a harrowing and ever-timely tale of fundamentalist zeal and hypocrisy, coercion, and sexual assault, told in a fast-moving score based on American folk music. This San Francisco Opera production, conducted by Karen Kamensek, stars Patricia Racette in the title role and Raymond Aceto as the duplicitous preacher Olin Blitch. The San Francisco Chronicle said of Floyd’s opera, “The current magnificent account of Susannah only whets the appetite for more.” It’s available free of charge at sfopera.com from 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, until midnight on Sunday, July 5. 

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