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Carlisle Floyd

 b. 1926Carlisle Floyd © 2000 Jim Caldwell


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Carlisle Floyd has created a distinctively American idiom for opera, drawing on national folk and religious music traditions * His nine music theatre works combine penetrating social commentary with acute psychological insight * Writes his own librettos, in which he has treated such themes as the aftermath of the Civil War, the Great Depression, and rural fundamentalism * Susannah, his best-known opera, has entered the permanent repertory with countless productions in the U.S. and a growing number in Europe

Works by Carlisle Floyd include:
Susannah (1953–54) musical drama in two acts
Of Mice and Men (1969) opera in three acts, six scenes
The Passion of Jonathan Wade (1962, rev.1989) musical drama in three acts

Looking Ahead: Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera Company gives a concert performance of Floyd’s Wuthering Heights, conducted by Joseph Mechavich. The performances on January 9 & 11 feature soprano Georgia Jarman as Catherine and baritone Kelly Markgraf as Heathcliff—the latter’s company debut. These performances initiate a Floyd recording project to be undertaken by the company, which consists of Wuthering Heights, Willie Stark, and Bilby’s Doll. In February, Toledo Opera presents a semi-staged Susannah conducted by Robert Mirikian and starring Samuel Ramey as Olin Blitch. In April, Tulsa Opera will present another Floyd favorite, Of Mice and Men, directed by Kristine McIntyre.

"With a commitment that rivals Smetana's in Bohemia or Britten's in Britain, [Floyd] has striven to create a national repertory … He has learned the international language of successful opera in order to speak it in his own accents and to enrich it with the musical and vernacular idioms of his own country." — Andrew Porter, The New Yorker

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