In 1997, the eminent American composer Elliott Carter teamed with British music critic/librettist Paul Griffiths to create the one-act opera What Next?
Hailed by the New York Times as "theatrically dynamic" and "poignant," the opera explores how six people work together to emerge from the wreckage of an accident. Today, What Next? enjoys a prominent position in Carter's celebrated "late late" compositional period.
In the first book to focus exclusively on one Carter composition, Guy Capuzzo uses the metaphors of communication, cooperation, and separation to trace the dramatic arc of What Next?
Through an approach that places stage action, words, and music on equal footing, Capuzzo's readings of four excerpts from the opera reveal the inner workings of Carter and Griffiths's tragicomedy. Elliott Carter's 'What Next?': Communication, Cooperation, and Separation
sheds light on a significant work by a major figure in twentieth-century concert music and will be of interest to all who study American music, vocal music, and musical criticism.
Guy Capuzzo is associate professor of music theory at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro.