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Carlisle Floyd

“When I think of the time and effort I now expend on creating a full-length opera, usually two to three years, I shake my head in recalling that I wrote Susannah’s libretto in ten days and completed the music in about three months. I can only say that it was the impetuous, heedless confidence of a 28-year-old, a neophyte in a fascinating but uncharted world, guided only by a deeply felt conviction that I could write words and music for the theatre.”

Carlisle Floyd

FLOYD, C.: Susannah [Opera] (St. Petersburg Opera, 2014) (NTSC)
Carlisle FLOYD (b. 1926)

Susan Hellman Spatafora • Stefanie Izzo • Aleksandra Ritums, Sopranos
Melissa Misener • Robyn Rocklein, Mezzo-sopranos
Scott Wichael • Anthony Wright Webb • Stanley Wilson, Tenors
Fred Frabotta, Character Tenor • Todd Donovan, Baritone
Benjamin Bloomfield, Bass-baritone • Brian Wehrle, Bass
St. Petersburg Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Michael Unger, Stage Director
Mark Sforzini, Conductor

Carlisle Floyd is one of America’s foremost composers. Though he has also written in other forms, he is renowned for his operas, for which he also writes the libretti. The most famous and popular is his third opera, Susannah, premiered in 1955 and the second most performed of all American operas. Updated and set in Tennessee, it is loosely based on the Apocryphal tale of Susannah and the Elders. The work is rooted in vernacular folk melodies and hymns and contains soaring melodic beauty.

About the Artists
Carlisle Floyd
Carlisle Floyd is one of the foremost composers and librettists of opera in the US today. His twelve operas, mostly about American themes, have entered the repertory of major American opera houses. Susannah, his third opera, is the second most frequently performed American opera. Floyd was a professor at Florida State University for nearly 30 years before moving to Houston to co-found the Houston Opera Studio, a training programme for young professional singers and repertory coaches.
Mark Sforzini
Conductor Mark Sforzini is the founding artistic and executive director of St. Petersburg Opera. He was recently named by Musical America among thirty international industry professionals as a “Profile in Courage”. Sforzini is also a composer whose orchestral and chamber compositions have been performed by numerous orchestras in the United States.
Michael Unger
Michael Unger’s directing work has been seen on stages from Los Angeles to Chicago, New York and Yekaterinburg, Russia – plus many places in between. He is associate artistic director of Off-Broadway’s York Theatre Company and producing artistic director of NewArts. His work in Newtown is the subject of the documentary film, Midsummer in Newtown.
St. Petersburg Opera Company
Founded by Mark Sforzini in 2007, the St. Petersburg Opera Company works to enrich the cultural lives of the residents of and visitors to the Tampa Bay area by presenting fully staged professional opera productions of the highest quality, and to make opera accessible to all through community outreach, educational initiatives and collaboration with other arts organisations.
More opera performances from the Naxos Audiovisual Collection
VERDI, G.: Rigoletto / La traviata / PUCCINI, G.: Tosca (3 Live Films, 1992-2010)
NBD0052-54 [Blu-ray]
2.110374-77 [DVD]

Rigoletto / La traviata /
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(Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2007)

“No complaints about conductor or orchestra, and the sound and picture are excellent”
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Benvenuto Cellini
(Salzburg Festival, 2007)

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A selection of American Opera Classics on CD
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  Listen to an extract from
Act I Scene 3:
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  Listen to an extract from
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  Listen to an extract from
Act I Scene 1:
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  Listen to an extract from
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