The Florentine Opera opens its 2018–2019 season with Carlisle Floyd’s 2016 opera, Prince of Players. The production will also be recorded live for international release.
On October 12 and 14, Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players is performed by the Florentine Opera Company, conducted by William Boggs at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company will be issuing the world premiere CD, recorded live from this production of Floyd’s latest opera.
This will be the fourth staging of Prince of Players since its world premiere in March 2016 with the Houston Grand Opera, who commissioned the work. Set in 17th-century London, the two-act chamber opera tells the story of actor Edward Kynaston, whose celebrated theatre career crashes to a halt when Charles II declares that female roles could no longer be performed by men onstage, and henceforth should be played by women. The historical opera with themes relevant to a modern era struck a chord with audiences in Houston; subsequent productions in 2017 with the Little Opera Theatre of New York and Florida State Opera also earned high praise. The New York Times wrote, “Prince of Players tells its story vividly and compactly, while fleshing out characters who win your sympathy”; Blog Critics observed, “Throughout, the music mixes modernist dissonance with classic lyricism, a recipe that Floyd has mastered and fine-tuned perhaps better than any other composer.”
Florentine Opera Company has championed many of Floyd’s most celebrated operas, having performed Wuthering Heights in 2015, Susannah in 2012, and Of Mice and Men in 2003. In 2016, the company released a recording of Wuthering Heights on Reference Recordings. Fanfare Magazine’s review of the CD proclaimed: “Here is a composer who writes in an accessible but never simplistic or retrograde tonal vocabulary; has a sound grasp of what makes operas work dramatically in terms of subject matter, plotting, and pacing; and crafts compelling music that vividly illustrates his texts (Floyd writes his own librettos) while yet placing them in expressive, arcing melodic lines… Those who think great opera died with Puccini’s Turandot, or perhaps with Britten’s Peter Grimes, should acquire this opera.”
Photo: Lynn Lane / Houston Grand Opera
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