Floyd’s first opera Slow Dusk is a simple, powerful story set in the sand hills of the Carolinas amidst poverty and low-keyed religious fanaticism. The story unfolds around the tragedy of a May afternoon, which alters the course of a young girl’s life.
Aunt Sue, a rough-hewn woman of middle age, opposes the marriage of her niece Sadie to Micah Hatfield, who lives across the pond and who belongs to the Truelights, a different religious sect than the Disciples, to which Sue’s family subscribes.
Sue painfully and patiently gives her niece her reasons for opposing the marriage. Music marks the passing of time from late afternoon until dusk, and in the evening, Sue reports to Sadie that Micah has drowned during the day while fishing. Jess, Sadie’s brother, consoles his aunt who feels guilty from her sense of complicity.
Sadie vows fidelity to Micah’s memory, mourning the emptiness of her life without him.