Philip Glass's The Perfect American

Phelim McDermott (stage director), Dennis Russell Davies (conductor) – With Christopher Purves (Walt Disney), David Pittsinger (Roy Disney)...

Certain chapters are not available.
Thank you for your understanding.


Dennis Russell Davies — Music director

Phelim Mc Dermott — Stage director

Dan Potra — Set designer, costume designer

Jon Clark — Lighting

Ben Wright — Choreographer

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

Program notes

In 2013 at Madrid’s Teatro Real, Philip Glass presented the world premiere of his most recent creation, the opera The Perfect American (with a libretto by Rudy Wurlitzer based on Peter Stephan Jungk’s novel of the same name). A fictionalized account of the last months in the life of Walt Disney, the opera explores the state of mind of this extremely influential 20th century cultural icon. His biggest concerns at that pivotal moment? A despondent Walt Disney laments the fact that the science of cryogenics will not enable him to live forever as he had hoped...

Though at first glance Walt seems like the happy owner of a magic wand that can grant all of his wishes, it soon becomes clear that he is as tortured as Wilhelm Dantine, an illustrator who worked for him, responsible for Sleeping Beauty among other animated features. Fascinated by the petulant megalomania of a man who identified with Mickey Mouse, Dantine desperately seeks Disney’s approval, risking his own ruin. In this opera, the universe of this “perfect American” is recreated by the magical presence of people close to Walt Disney: his wife Lillian, his confidante Hazel, his brother Roy, his children Dian and Sharon, and his close collaborators.

Photo © Javier del Real

A closer look: composers and works

Appears in

More info