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Video Published: 05 Feb 2024

NEA Opera Honors: An Oral History with Frank Corsaro

In 2009, stage director and librettist Frank Corsaro was awarded an NEA Opera Honors award and sat down for an interview about opera and their life.

This interview was originally posted by the NEA on May 2, 2010.
The Oral History Project is supported by the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation. 

Frank Corsaro, stage director and librettist

Frank Corsaro (1924–2017) brought his keen director's eye to countless opera productions, always displaying a rare understanding for the balance of words and music. Julius Rudel invited Corsaro to direct Carlisle Floyd's Susannah at the New York City Opera in 1958. Though the production was a huge success, it was some time before Corsaro returned to opera, in the interim directing, among other things, the Broadway premiere of Tennessee Williams's play The Night of the Iguana. But return he did, and he enjoyed a long association with City Opera as well as with Carlisle Floyd, with whom he worked at many companies. At City Opera, Corsaro's legendary productions include those of traditional fare such as La traviata, Faust, and Madama Butterfly, as well as those of new or lesser-known works, including Lee Hoiby's Summer and Smoke and Borodin’s Prince Igor. Corsaro wrote the libretti for such operas as Heloise and Abelard by Stephen Paulus and Frau Margot by Thomas Pasatieri.

Corsaro was a 2009 recipient of the NEA Opera Honors, a program administered by the National Endowment for the Arts from 2008 to 2011. The NEA Opera Honors recipients are now recognized in OPERA America’s Opera Hall of Fame.

Oral History Project

Discover the full collection of oral histories at the link below.