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Philip Glass

Publisher: Chester Music

The Perfect American (2011)
Commissioned by Teatro Real Madrid
Work Notes
Libretto (English) based on the book by Peter Stephen Jungk.

  • Diane - Soprano
  • Sharon - Soprano
  • Hazel - Soprano
  • Lillian - Soprano
  • Lucy (young girl) - Soprano
  • Josh (young boy) - Soprano
  • Dantine - Tenor
  • Roy - Baritone
  • Walt - Bass Baritone
  • Abraham Lincoln - Bass
  • Secretary - Soprano
  • Nurse - Mezzo Soprano
  • Doctor - Tenor
Text Writer
Rudy Wurlitzer
Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Year Composed
1 Hour 40 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
6S, 2Mz, 2T, Bar, B-Bar, B
Programme Note
Philip Glass The Perfect American (2011)
An opera based on the novel, “The Perfect American” by Peter Jungk, a fictionalized biography of Walt Disney during his final months, narrated by an Austrian cartoonist who worked for Disney in the 1950s, we discover Disney’s delusions of immortality and get a glimpse into his private life.

  • Ensemble
    Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Real Madrid
    Dennis Russell Davies
    Orange Mountain:
Glass's rendering of him [Disney] in Phelim McDermott's imaginative production at the Coliseum, where the role is taken superbly by the baritone Christopher Purves, never fails to captivate. Glass's pacing is secure, his vocal lines telling, his choral writing notably assured. Though minimalism isn't usualyy linked to inwardness, here it certainly adds depth to the characters and somehow upholds the moral endeavour.
Richard Hubert Smith, Sunday Times,09/06/2013
From the ticktock percussion through passages that evoke Sousa marches in the smalltown America that Disney idealised, to the deep, moody film noir orchestrations throbbing through much of the work this is a score deliberately at odds with the saccharine-perfect make-believe created by Disney himself.
Richard Morrison, The Times,03/06/2013
Glass's music is as finely crafted as ever.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian,03/06/2013
By most counts this is Glass' 24th opera, and it is his most personally intimate. It does what opera does best by making the larger-than-life creator of Mickey Mouse an imperfect life-size, ultimately earning our wonderment […] Glass' repetitive style is recognizable throughout, but with this opera he shows more harmonic richness than ever, which seems just right for every situation, mood or thought…this is a great American opera that needs to be seen in L.A.
Mark Swed, LA Times,24/01/2013
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