PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): The Perfect American.
Catalogue Number: 11P072
Label: Opus Arte
Reference: OA 1117D
Description: 'The Perfect American' is Walt Disney. In Glass' recent opera based on a surreal fictionalized account of his life, he is unflatteringly portrayed as complex and contradictory, staggeringly self-aggrandising, dictatorial and controlling. The work takes place in the last year of his life, depicting his obsession with his legacy and his terror of dying. Glass' operatic style, post-Einstein, has had certain consistent characteristics, and the pulsating propulsive choruses over oscillating arpeggiated figures could have originated in Akhnaten or The Making of the Representative. The distinguishing characteristic of the more recent operas is a more traditional approach to the melodic vocal line, with repeated figuration of different kinds in an accompanimental role, and a far broader palette of orchestral effects than the earlier stage works. No actual Disney imagery is used in the clever, visually powerful stage designs and projected images, presumably for legal reasons not difficult to guess, though cheeky visual puns frequently remind us exactly what we're really looking at. Christopher Purves (baritone), David Pittsinger (bass), Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real; Dennis Russell Davies. 16:9 widescreen. 5.1 DTS surround or 2.0 PCM stereo. All regions. 120 min.