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Floyd, Carlisle

Prince of Players ()

Duration: 90 minutes

chamber opera in 2 acts

Carlisle Floyd (E)


2(=picc).2(=corA).2(=bcl).2(=dbn)-2.2.timp.perc.harp.strings 3S,3M,5T,Bar,2BBar,mimes chorus of audience members chorus of guests

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Wortham Theater Center, Houston, TX
Michael Gieleta, director
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Company: Houston Grand Opera


Edward Kynaston Baritone
Thomas Betterton Bass-Baritone
Villiers, Duke of Buckingham Tenor
Margaret Hughes Soprano
Lady Meresvale Mezzo-Soprano
Miss Frayne Soprano
Sir Charles Sedley Tenor
Charles II Tenor
Nell Gwynn Soprano
Hyde Bass-Baritone
Male Emilia Tenor
Female Emilia Mezzo-Soprano
Stage Hand Tenor
Mistress Revels Mezzo-Soprano
Ruffians Non-Speaking

Time and Place

1661, London

Press Quotes

“…it is the story of Edward Kynaston, one of the last men to play women’s roles on the stage in Restoration England. Charles II’s edict that female parts must henceforth be played by women means that the 26-year-old actor, once the toast of London, is not only out of work, but his whole being, including his sexuality, is called into question… The emotion of a man living the wrong life is carried in the autumnal, transparent orchestration, in which wistful woodwind solos evoke the protagonist’s feminine world.”
Wall Street Journal

“During Kynaston’s transformative journey from artifice to realism, he goes from being Villiers, Duke of Buckingham’s lover to becoming passionately involved with his former dresser Peg; and from the most celebrated ‘female’ actor of the era to performing in drag at a bawdy pub…”
Opera Now

Prince of Players shows that Floyd still can champion the lyrical American opera aesthetic that he largely created… the score has evocative touches: the bustling, staccato woodwinds that describe the theater’s backstage activity; the mournful, simple music for oboe and drum that accompanies a bit of King Lear; the ominous tones of Desdemona’s death scene.”
Classical Music Review

“Floyd's telling of the story has its eyes wide open to some cruelties beneath its exotic, period-piece exterior. Oppressive gender roles, rigid social prohibitions, and the arbitrariness and damaging consequences of absolute power all leave their scars on Kynaston, so that we are as much awakened to his condition as uplifted by his triumph… an intimate, moving performance.”
Opera News


Dramatic, Poetic



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