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Finally, the Reverend Olin Blitch, newly arrived to lead the congregation, enters and asks Susannah to dance despite the gossip.

Later that evening, Susannah tells her admirer Little Bat – son of Mrs.

They retreat, but she has effectively severed her ties with the community and her world.Later, as she is pondering why she has been shunned, Little Bat tells her that the elders have denounced her for bathing in the nude, and admits that he was coerced into saying she seduced him.Sam informs Susannah that she must make a public confession in order to be absolved.Mc Lean and her husband, an elder of the church – about the dance; Little Bat leaves abruptly once her brother Sam returns from hunting.The next morning Susannah is innocently bathing naked in the creek near her home; she is discovered by the elders, who are searching for a baptismal stream.In New Hope Valley, Tennessee, Susannah – a pretty and well-mannered young woman of humble origins – is faced with hostility from her church community.The opera opens at a square dance given by her church; a group of wives, jealous of Susannah’s beauty and the attention it brings from their husbands, are gossiping about her. Mc Lean, one of the wives, states that you can’t expect more from someone who was raised by her drunken brother.Though she claims she has nothing to confess, she goes to the service where Olin Blitch is preaching.When she is singled out to come forward, she runs away.Other well-known sopranos who have portrayed the heroine have included Lee Venora, Joy Clements, Maralin Niska, Nancy Shade, Diana Soviero, Karan Armstrong, Kelly Kaduce and Phyllis Treigle (opposite Michael Devlin as Blitch).Susannah is one of the most performed American operas, second to Porgy and Bess, and celebrated its 50th anniversary with a performance on the very stage where it premiered February 24, 1955, in Ruby Diamond Auditorium at Florida State University.

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