Susannah was such a memorable and meaningful experience last weekend. Our guest artists variously referred to it as a "top 3" or "top 5" experience, which is gratifying and humbling to hear. It's also great to get a nice write up in the local press: here's the Roanoke Times review.
I picked back up the new biography I've been reading of the great "confessional" poet, Robert Lowell (by Kay Redfield Jamison; it's subtitled: Setting the River on Fire: A Story of Genius, Mania, and Character).
The description below of the "wild" in art - first from Thoreau, then from Lowell - made me leap to Carlisle Floyd's wild imagination in creating Susannah as a 20-something composer! The wild ride we experienced in producing this exciting and fiery work reaffirmed our impressions of its inherent vitality, authenticity; thus, another measure of its greatness, its "staying power"...
“It is only the wild that attracts us” (Thoreau)… “the wild thinking in Hamlet, in the Iliad, and all the scriptures and mythologies that delight us.” Jamison notes, “more than a hundred years later”, Lowell described “raw” poetry: “huge blood-dripping gobbets of unseasoned experience…dished up for midnight listeners.”
They could also be describing verismo opera, pulp fiction or film noir; writers from the classical era like Aeschylus and Seneca to modern bards like David Lynch or Stephen King… This "wildness" describes works varied as Titus Andronicus, Susannah, The Lord of the Rings, Tosca, Batman, Medea, and The Minotaur.
I offer a Robin Williams / Dead Poets' Society "barbaric yawp!" to the cast and crew of Susannah, the entire Opera Roanoke family who helped make our production such a success, and one already beloved and treasured, and just one week old!