Opera Today reviews the Florentine Opera Company’s World Premiere recording of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players:
“gender and performance are at the heart of the art form that we call opera. If in the 21st century we are having conversations about gender and identity, then – from castrati to en travesti, from Cherubino to Cantonese opera, from Baba the Turk to Octavian – opera has relished gender fluidity since the art form was born. Floyd’s Prince of Players is an interesting contribution to the debate.
Opera America calculate that Susannah is one of the ten most frequently produced North American operas since 1991 (alongside an eclectic range of works including Porgy and Bess, My Fair Lady, Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Candide, Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Little Women by Mark Adamo). Yet, performances of Floyd’s operas in the UK are fairly rare, so this recording is particularly welcome, with its pressing, short scenes, engaging idiom, fascinating characters and context. One hopes that it’s not too long – viruses and financial crises permitting – before we get an opportunity to see a live performance on this side of the pond.
Floyd’s pleasure at having Prince of Players recorded in his lifetime is evident in the album notes, where he writes, ‘having this outstanding performance recorded for the world to hear … my 93 year old heart is filled with joy and oh, so much gratitude!’—Claire Seymour, Opera Today