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Beneath Suspicion

200 W Hill Ave
KNOXVILLE, TN 37902
200 W Hill Ave
KNOXVILLE, TN 37902

(865) 226-9756

  • Date(s): March 14, 2019 to March 16, 2019
  • Event Times: From: 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM
  • Price: $30.00 for Adults. $15.00 for Students
  • Location: Blount Mansion

This event is a double bill featuring the chamber opera "Beneath Suspicion" and a performance of the song cycle, "Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn..."

Written by Knoxville native and University of Tennessee alum Jesse Ayers, “Beneath Suspicion” is a one act chamber opera based on the real-life story of two women whose actions had a profound impact on the outcome of the Civil War. Upon her father's death, Elizabeth Van Lew, a passionate abolitionist known around Richmond as “Crazy Bet, frees her family's slaves, including a young household servant named Mary.

Richmond is the capital of the Confederacy, but nearly half of its inhabitants are Union sympathizers. Bet sets up a spy ring to report Confederate movements to the Union military. Mary must decide if she will undertake the daring plan she believes God has revealed to her, or if she will shrink back to maintain her safety and personal freedom. Both women were inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in the 1990s.

“Good morning, darling, the sun has just come up. It is a beautiful morning…”

So begins a letter from 1944 that 1st Lt. George W. Honts wrote his wife Evelyn Honts, while
deployed during World War II. The text to these letters has been set to music by composer Alan Smith in the song cycle,
Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn, from the Private Papers of a World War II Bride.


Beneath Suspicion