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Louisiana Opera presents “Susannah” on June 9, 11 at ULM

Published May 31, 2017

Betsy Uschkrat

Louisiana Opera, Monroe’s professional opera company, presents the American musical theater masterpiece “Susannah,” by Carlisle Floyd, in June at the University of Louisiana Monroe. The public is invited to the performances, 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 9 and 2 p.m., Sunday, June 11 in the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall.

Guest performers are Betsy Uschkrat, Corey McKern, Tyler Smith, and Jos Milton.


Also featured are local favorites Claire Vangelisti, Kristen Oden, McKenna Giovingo, Camille Peterson, Mark Payton, Greg Oden, and the ULM Opera Chorus.


The guest artists have appeared with the LA Opera numerous times and have acquired quite a fan base in northeast Louisiana.


Betsy Uschkrat, a New Orleans resident and Loyola professor who is the former Miss Indiana, has sung leading roles in “Fledermaus,” “Carmelites,” “Cavalleria” and the “Magic Flute” in Monroe. Uschkrat has performed roles with the Shreveport Opera and New Orleans Opera. 


Corey McKern of Pensacola, Fla., has sung leading roles with several national opera companies as well as abroad, and has sung major roles in Monroe in “Fledermaus,” “Barber of Seville” and the “Magic Flute.” 


Tenor Tyler Smith, husband of Uschkrat and head of the Loyola voice faculty, sings regularly with regional opera companies, including LA Opera (“Fledermaus,” “Magic Flute,” “Barber of Seville” and “Cavalleria”) and leading roles with the New Orleans Opera.


Jos Milton is a member of the voice faculty at Ole Miss.  Milton has sung major roles with the LA Opera in “Pagliacci” and “La Boheme.”


Susannah’s story is set in a small, remote town in the Tennessee mountains.  Dreaming of acceptance by her neighbors, she is criticized because of her family background. Susannah hopes eventually to leave and see the world.  Tragically, her dreams are crushed by a traveling preacher who takes advantage of her. The church elders blame Susannah for sins that are not her fault. 


The intense dramatic plot is enhanced by the folk-flavored music of the Smoky Mountains.

“Susannah” will be directed by ULM’s Mark Ross Clark and conducted by Jeffrey Peterson of Baylor University. ULM’s Richard Seiler is the pianist.


Tickets are $25 for general admission and $50 for VIP tickets, which include the best seats and a reception with the artists.


Tickets are available at Fiesta Nutrition Center, 1211 North 18th St., or online at ulm.edu/vapa/opera .  For more information, call 342-3247.