The Perfect American
An opera by Philip Glass. World Premiere
Philip Glass – one of the most sought-after American contemporary composers – presents his latest opera, The Perfect American, telling the story of a 20th-century character of huge cultural influence, Walt Disney. A world premiere at the Teatro Real de Madrid.
The Perfect American is a fictionalized biography of Walt Disney's final months. We discover Walt's delusions of immortality via cryogenic preservation, his tirades alongside his Abraham Lincoln talking robot, his utopian visions and his backyard labyrinth of toy trains.
Yet, if at first Walt seems to have a magic wand granting him all his wishes, we soon discover that he is as tortured as the man who crosses his story, Wilhelm Dantine, a cartoonist who worked for him, illustrating sequences for Sleeping Beauty. Dantine fascinated by the childlike omnipotence of a man who identifies with Mickey Mouse desperately seeks Disney's recognition at the risk of his own ruin.
Walt's wife Lillian, his confidante and perhaps his mistress Hazel, his brother Roy, his children Diane and Sharon, his close and ill-treated collaborators, and famous figures such as Andy Warhol, all contribute to the opera's animation, its feel for the life of the Disney world.
© Picture: Javier del Real
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Dennis Russell Davies music director
Phelim Mc Dermott stage director
Dan Potra set designer, costume designer
Jon Clark lighting
Ben Wright choreography
Leo Warner (59 Productions) video
Andrés Máspero chorus master
Christopher Purves (Walt Disney)
David Pittsinger (Roy)
Donald Kaasch (Dantine)
Janis Kelly (Hazel George)
Marie McLaughlin (Lillian Disney)
Sarah Tynan (Sharon)
Nazan Fikret (Diane)
Rosie Lomas (Lucy / Josh)
Zachary James (Abraham Licoln / Employee of the mortuary)
John Easterlin (Andy Warhol)
Juan Noval-Moro (Chuck / A doctor)
Beatriz de Gálvez (A secretary)
Noelia Buñuel (A nurse)
The Improbable Skills Ensemble (Actors)
Coro y Orquesta titular del Teatro Real (Coro Intermezzo y Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid)
Movie director : János Darvas
Musical period : Contemporary music
Location : Teatro Real Madrid (Madrid, Spain)
Production : A coproduction Idéale Audience, EuroArts, Teatro Real, WDR/Arte, TVE and NHK. With the participation of MUSEEC/medici.tv and France Télévisions.