Release date: 8/20/2014

San Francisco Opera Guild Hosts
Insight Panel Discussion Exploring Carlisle Floyd's
Susannah, August 28

Panel to Feature Composer and Librettist Carlisle Floyd,
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley,
Soprano Patricia Racette, Director Michael Cavanagh
and Conductor Karen Kamensek

Photos Available
San Francisco Opera Guild presents an Insight Panel Discussion exploring Carlisle Floyd’s iconic American opera Susannah. Insight Panels feature renowned cast and production team members, sharing behind-the-scenes experiences and inspirations during informal discussions. The Susannah Insight Panel provides the rare opportunity to learn about the opera directly from award-winning 88-year-old composer and librettist Carlisle Floyd. One of the foremost composers and librettists of opera in the United States, Floyd has written a total of 11 operas and is currently completing his twelfth. Joining Carlisle Floyd on the panel are San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, soprano Patricia Racette, director Michael Cavanagh and conductor Karen Kamensek. The discussion takes place Thursday, August 28 at 6 p.m. in the Concert Hall at San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street).
 
San Francisco Opera presents the Company premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 opera Susannah in five performances September 6–21 at the War Memorial Opera House. One of the most performed of all American operas, Susannah was the first score and libretto written by Carlisle Floyd to receive widespread attention. Loosely based on the Apocryphal story of “Susanna and the Elders,” Susannah features iconic music that evokes the work’s rural Appalachian setting. Soprano Patricia Racette returns to San Francisco Opera in her professional role debut as the innocent, strong-willed and falsely accused young woman Susannah Polk. The all-American cast also includes bass Raymond Aceto as Reverend Olin Blitch, the itinerant preacher who targets Susannah as a sinner, and tenor Brandon Jovanovich as her hot-headed brother Sam Polk. This new production is created by director Michael Cavanagh and set designer Erhard Rom, who most recently brought their critically acclaimed Nixon in China production to San Francisco in 2012. Conductor Karen Kamensek, music director of Hannover State Opera, makes her Company debut.
 
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley has enjoyed a long and fruitful friendship with Carlisle Floyd, which resulted in the commissioning and premieres of three of the composer’s operatic compositions at Houston Grand Opera: Bilby’s Doll, Willie Stark and Cold Sassy Tree. In 1977, Gockley and Floyd worked together to found the Houston Grand Opera Studio young artist training program.
 
2014–15 Season Insight Panel Disussions will also be presented featuring members of the casts and creative teams of Handel’s Partenope on October 13, Berlioz’s Les Troyens (The Trojans) on June 4 and the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s La Ciociara (Two Women) on June 8. Visit sfopera.com/insights for more information.
 
Tickets and Information
 
San Francisco Opera Guild Insight Panels are free for San Francisco Opera members, subscribers and students with valid ID. Tickets are $5 for the general public; tickets can be purchased online via Eventbrite or at the door 30 minutes prior to the discussion. Insight Panel roster subject to change.
 
Tickets for performances of Floyd’s Susannah at the War Memorial Opera House are priced from $25 to $370 and may be purchased at sfopera.com or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330]. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.