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Polk, Susannah


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(Floyd: Susannah). Sop. An attractive girl of 19 years, she has lived with her brother on their farm since their parents died. The village Elders find her attractive, much to the disgust of their wives. The Elders peer through some trees, trying to find a pool to use for baptisms, and see Susannah, naked, bathing. They denounce her as shameless and sinful and the village decides she must confess or be banished from the church. Susannah has no idea what she's done to be treated as an outcast, until informed by Little Bat McLean, who is being forced by his parents to falsely accuse her of seducing him. Sam and the preacher, Olin Blitch, persuade her to go to church, where she sits alone at the back. Hearing Blitch call for sinners to confess, she starts to walk towards him, but realizes what she is doing and rushes out of the church. The preacher follows her home to console her. She breaks down and sobs and as he puts his arms round her his own passions are aroused and he takes her, too shattered to protest, to bed, where he discovers she is a virgin. When her brother returns from hunting and hears about Blitch's behaviour, he shoots him. The villagers advance on the farm, threatening Susannah, who scares them off with her brother's gun. She is left alone. Created (1955) by Phyllis Curtin.

Subjects: Opera.


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