C Floyd - Prince of Players
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Label: Reference Recordings
Cat No: FR736
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 3rd April 2020
Sandra Piques Eddy
Florentine Opera Company
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
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 centres 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.
“On 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.” – J. Mark Baker, “Carlisle Floyd and Opera in America”
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