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Reference Recordings FR-736 SASCD  Cover
Carlisle Floyd
Prince of Players
an opera in two acts

Florentine Opera Company
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
William Boggs,Conductor


[Double HDCD]

Carlisle Floyd
(b. 1926) is one of the foremost composers and librettists of opera in the world today.   Considered the “Father of American Opera,” Floyd's operas are regularly performed in the US and Europe, he first achieved national prominence with the premiere of Susannah by the New York City opera in 1956.   His second opera, Wuthering Heights, premiered at Santa Fe Opera in 1958, and continues to have life decades later: a critically-acclaimed recording, released in June 2016 on Reference Recordings, was listed in opera news' 10 Best opera recordings of 2016 (FR-721SACD Wuthering Heights).

During his long career, Floyd has composed 13 operas.   His most recent, Prince of Players, which premiered in March 2016 at the Houston Grand Opera, is based on the true story of the Restoration-era actor Edward Kynaston (1640-1706).   Remarks about Kynaston in the personal diary of Samuel Pepys inspired a play by Jeffrey Hatcher, Compleat Female Stage Beauty (1999), which was later made into a movie, Stage Beauty (2004).   The plot centers on the crisis faced by Kynaston when, by royal decree, he is prohibited from plying the craft that made him famous — playing female roles.   With this Milwaukee production, the Florentine Opera gives Prince of Players its world premiere live recording.

J. Mark Baker describes the new opera in his essay Carlisle Floyd and Opera in America:
“In his newest work, Prince of Players (2016), composer-librettist Floyd again lays bare his passion for social justice and understanding.   Though set in 17th-century England, the opera's highly charged drama deals with issues that confront us in 21st-century America — among them, the intricacies of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the resulting societal consequences.   Employing set pieces that evoke the restoration era — a bawdy tavern song, courtly dances, a folksong used as a maladroit audition piece — and calling on his tried-and-true mixture of affecting lyricism and sometimes-jarring dissonance, Floyd convincingly depicts the world of the actor Edward Kynaston.   It's an inspiring — and true — story of an artist motivated by a soul-deep devotion to his chosen art form.”

Reference Recordings knew that Carlisle Floyd was intent on having a recording released of his newest creation during his lifetime.   He writes in the album notes: “… and now, having this outstanding performance recorded for the world to hear … my 93 year old heart is filled with joy and oh, so much gratitude!”

Track Listing
disc one
Act 1

1. prologue 4:04
2. scene One 10:05
3. scene Two 4:57
4. scene Three 8:07
5. scene Four 14:24

TT 41:40
disc two
Act 2

1. scene One 13:52
2. scene Two 4:57
3. scene Three 6:59
4. scene Four 15:14
5. scene Five 2:59
6. scene Six 9:57

TT 54:01

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