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Mission Opera presents Susannah, an American Musical Drama in English by Carlisle Floyd, on June 9th and 10th! Advance tickets recommended.

By Mission Opera

When and where

Date and time

June 9 · 7:30pm - June 10 · 9:30pm PDT


Canyon High School 19300 Nadal Street Santa Clarita, CA 91351

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About this event

Mission Opera to present ‘Susannah’ by Carlisle Floyd, an American Musical Drama in English, adapted from the Apocryphal tale of “Susannah and the Elders” and set in 1950s Bible Belt Appalachia. Three performances are scheduled for June 9th, 2023 at 7:30 PM, and June 10th, 2023 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM at the Canyon High School Performing Arts Center in Santa Clarita.

Carlisle Floyd’s ‘Susannah’ is one of the most-performed American operas of all time. Composed 50 years ago at the height of the McCarthy era persecutions, it is a flawlessly effective melodrama focused on an innocent woman victimized by a narrow Evangelical community in rural Tennessee. According to the Daily Telegraph, “it speaks straight to the heart through music of uninhibited tonal simplicity and Puccini-esque fervor.”

Sopranos Meagan Carlson and Jeannine Allen (Sat matinee) star as Susannah, the beautiful Appalachian girl who innocently incites the lust of her church Elders, leading to her denouncement as a sinner. Mission Opera veterans Gabriel Manro and Phil Meyer (Sat matinee) star as the deleterious Reverend Olin Blitch, who cannot overcome his own desire for Susannah, and newcomer Arthur Miller stars as Susannah’s brother, Sam, who seeks revenge on the preacher. Ben Cross makes his Mission Opera debut, sharing the role of Little Bat McLean, with veteran performer Dylan F. Thomas of Valley Opera & Performing Arts. Maestro Brian Stone returns to the helm of the orchestra with Music Director & Accompanist Lindsay Aldana. The production is directed by Mission Opera Artistic Director, Dr. Joshua Wentz and features a multimedia design on the 46’ LED screen, creatively combining traditional theater with contemporary video design and virtual settings. “This show is a wonderful treat for anyone who doesn’t know about opera but loves musicals and theater. This hybrid show features folk music, dance, and an experience that one would more likely find on Broadway than in an opera house.” The entire performance will last 2 hours and 5 minutes, which includes a 15 minute intermission.


Susannah Polk, a wide-eyed and lovely young woman, lives a simple and happy life with her older brother Sam, who raised her. She finds herself viciously ostracized by her small Tennessee mountain village after a group of church elders discover her bathing nude in a secluded stream near her home. Though her intentions were entirely innocent, she is painted as a sinning seductress by the elders, in part to conceal their own lustful feelings, and the entire town turns against her. A visiting preacher, Reverend Olin Blitch, tries to force her into repentance to “save her soul,” but turns out to be far more of a devil than is shown in his evangelistic exterior: He rapes Susannah and discovers all too intimately her innocence. He begs her, and the Lord, for forgiveness, but is shot dead by Sam as revenge for violating his sister. The town descends on Susannah’s house to drive her out of town, but she stands her ground, laughing maniacally as she chases them off with a shotgun, leaving her starkly alone.

About the organizer

Organized by
Mission Opera

LA's newest and greatest opera company, serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys