Composer: Carlisle Floyd
Composer Bio: Composer, librettist, pianist, and teacher Carlisle Floyd has written operas for many of America’s cherished stories, basing much of his subject matter on Southern themes. Born in the Southern Bible Belt of Latta, South Carolina, he grew up in the thick of traveling preachers, revival meetings, and a close knit religious community, though at a young age was aware of that world’s controversial and hypocritical nature. Floyd’s primary teacher was pianist Ernst Bacon whom he followed from South Carolina to Syracuse University in New York where he earned a Bachelor and a Master of Music. He immediately joined the piano faculty of Florida State University where he began exploring an interest in composition, writing both the libretti and the music for operas with a distinctly American voice. He achieved national recognition with Susanna, which premiered at Florida State University in 1955.

Today Carlisle Floyd’s operas are performed throughout America and Europe and Susanna and Of Mice and Men have become standard repertoire. Floyd was one of eight recipients of the National Medal of Arts in 2004. He is also the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Citation of Merit from the National Association of American Conductors and Composers and the National Opera Institute’s Award for Service to American Opera. In 2008, Floyd was the only composer to be included in the inaugural National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors.
Librettist: Carlisle Floyd
Other Artistic Personnel: Carlisle Floyd (Director)
Original Cast: Norman Treigle (Markheim)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: March 31, 1966
Producing Company: New Orleans Opera Association
Description: Floyd conceived Markheim, a one-act dramatization of a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, as a vehicle for the bass Norman Treigle, who sang the lead role in the premiere. Markheim, a decadent aristocrat, tries to obtain money from a pawnshop on Christmas Eve. When he is refused a loan – and taunted beyond endurance- by Josiah Creach, the pawnbroker, he kills Creach and searches for his cashbox. A mysterious stranger enters the pawnshop and reveals supernatural knowledge of Markheim and his actions. The stranger tells Markheim that if he forswears guilt and conscience, he will show him where the pawnbroker kept his money. He also says that Creach’s servant girl Tess will soon return and find her employer’s body. During an argument between Markheim and the stranger, Tess does return and the stranger urges Markheim to kill her also. Markheim cannot murder the terrified girl and asks her to call the police. The infuriated stranger vanishes. Markheim hears Christmas carolers offstage. Now, redeemed and in tears, he joins them in singing and awaits his arrest.
Character List (Major): JOSIAH CREACH (t)
MARKHEIM (b-bar)
TESS (s)
Reviews: New York Times, Anne Midgette, 6/5/2001;
Length: 01:10
Total Acts: 1
Chorus: Carolers (off stage mixed chorus)
Orchestration: 2 fl(II=picc), 2 ob(II=corA), 2 cl(II=bcl), 2 bsn - 4 hrn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn, 1 tba - timp, perc(2):chimes/vib/ xyl/glsp/gong/susp.cym/cyms/wdbl/whip/SD/TD/BD/tamb - harp - strings
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes
Address: 229 W 28th Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10001
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Markheim (Floyd)
Friday, November 14, 2003 - University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
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