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Article Published: 22 Jan 2022

Remembering Carlisle Floyd

Echoing Carlisle Floyd’s first grand lyric effusion, Susannah’s “Ain’t It a Pretty Night,” the polymath genius slipped into his own late evening on September 30 when he died in Tallahassee, Florida. During 95 years of life and creation, he displayed skills in piano performance, creative writing, and visual arts, all before launching himself into America’s 20th-century opera world — with two 21st-century offerings — and becoming its preeminent librettist and composer. His compositional idiom is a highly personal blend of accessible melody, polytonality, and Americana, reflecting the Southern garden bed of his English-Irish-Scottish-Welsh transplantings. As his own librettist, he was America’s avatar of Richard Wagner’s total work of art: words and music by Carlisle Floyd.

This article was published in the Winter 2022 issue of Opera America Magazine.

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