St. Petersburg Opera is thrilled to release its first commercial DVD and the first-ever DVD of Carlisle Floyd’s American classic opera, Susannah. Released on the Naxos label, the video goes on sale on Friday, May 12, but is available now for pre-order on Amazon.com. The DVD is a live recording of the St. Petersburg production of Susannah in January and February 2014, which featured Susan Hellman Spatafora as the eponymous heroine and Todd Donovan as the Rev. Blitch, the revival preacher with feet of clay.
At the time of the production, the composer visited St. Petersburg and was interviewed by the stage director, Michael Unger. This interview is included as a bonus track on the DVD.
The publishers of Floyd’s opera are Boosey and Hawkes, who licensed the release of the DVD. “We are very pleased to have the blessing of the composer, the publisher, and a distinguished label in Naxos. It has taken a long time to get this DVD released, but it was worth the effort. We want to share these wonderful performances,” said Mark Sforzini, artistic and executive director of the opera company. The production in 2014 was sponsored by the Helen Torres Foundation and by an anonymous friend of the opera company. The costs of making the DVD were partially subsidized by Belinda Dumont and Barbara Smith. This is St. Petersburg Opera’s first DVD on a major label.
Naxos is the largest independent classical label in the world and one of the two largest-selling classical labels. It is also one of the largest distributors of independent classical record labels in the world. Through a number of imprints, Naxos also releases genres including Chinese music, jazz, world music, and early rock & roll. The company was founded in 1987 by Klaus Heymann, a German-born resident of Hong Kong. Mr. Heymann personally approved the release of the Susannah DVD.